A “leprechaun cookie” is one specialty that is made for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a cookie made to look like a leprechaun—somewhat similar to gingerbread men. The recipes differ, but a “leprechaun cookie” is usually a sugar cookie with green food coloring added.
“Leprechaun cookies” have been cited in print since at least 1952.
Wikipedia: St. Patrick’s Day
Saint Patrick’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig) is a yearly holiday celebrated on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (circa AD 387–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland. It began as a purely Christian holiday and became an official feast day in the early 1600s. However, it has gradually become more of a secular celebration of Ireland’s culture.
It is a public holiday on the island of Ireland; including Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as well as in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora, especially in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and Montserrat, among others.
A leprechaun (Irish: leipreachán) is a type of fairy in Irish folklore, usually taking the form of an old man, clad in a red or green coat, who enjoys partaking in mischief. Like other fairy creatures, leprechauns have been linked to the Tuatha Dé Danann of Irish mythology. Popular depiction shows them as being no taller than a small child.
1 (20 oz.) roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
Green decorating sugar
2/3 c. canned vanilla frosting
Few drops green food coloring
Turn the oven to 350 degrees. For a leprechaun, use about 1/4 of the cookie dough. Put the dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. With your hands, pat the dough into the shape of a person about 6 inches long and 3-4 inches wide.
With adult help, put the cookie sheet in the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove cookie sheet from oven; cool for 2 minutes. With a large pancake turner, carefully lift the cookie onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, for each shamrock, roll cookie dough into three 3/4 inch balls; place 3 balls together on the cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Use about 1 teaspoon of the dough to make a stem; press into the bottom of each shamrock. Leave about 2 inches between each shamrock. Sprinkle with the green sugar. Put the cookie sheet in the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Lift the cookies onto a cooling rack. Turn off oven.
To decorate leprechaun, tint the frosting with green food coloring. Frost the leprechaun’s body and feet with green frosting. Frost the top of the head to make a hat. With decorator icing, make eyes, nose and a mouth.
13 March 1952, Winnipeg (Manitoba) Free Press, “Soda Bread Gives Irish Air To St. Patrick’s Day” by Carol Ross, pg. 19, col. 3:
The children will be delighted with Leprechaun cookies. Make a batch of gingerbread men, before baking place the traditional Irish hat on the top of each by cutting in half lengthwise a green gumdrop and pressing into the top of each little man’s head. THe brim and buckle are formed by forcing white icing out of the icing tube in the desired design after the cookies are baked. The final touch is a little clay pipe perkily stemming from the mouth, also fashioned with a touch of white icing.
5 March 1971, Albuquerque (NM) Journal, “Green Theme for Tennis Club Event,” pg. B1, col. 2:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbs. orange or lime rind
3 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon flavoring
2 slightly beaten eggs
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
green food coloring
Cream butter an sugar; add the rind, vanilla and lemon flavoring and eggs. Add dry ingredients and tint dough with food coloring. Form into long roll, chill several hours.
Slice thinly and bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 400 degrees about 8 minutes or until edges brown. Makes about 6 dozen 2-inch cookies.
Google News Archive
10 March 1976, Beaver County (PA) Times, “Area School Lunch Menus,” pg. C11, col. 1:
...choice of leprechaun cookies or mint-green cake.
Google News Archive
11 March 1976, Owosso (MI) Argus-Press, “school lunch menu,” pg. 2, col. 5:
Gaston Gazette (Gastonia, NC)
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Irish food, fun and blessings
March 16, 2010 9:06 PM
And you can also add green food coloring to basic sugar dough and call them Leprechaun cookies.