What you’ll need:
Frosting, fondant, or royal icing
Rubber stamps and food coloring, edible markers, or other embellishments
Calico fabric is often thought of as mottled or spotted but it’s usually flowered. The beautiful cotton cloth is used to make everything from a quilt, to a tablecloth, to a Christmas tree skirt, because it’s printed in many different colors and patterns. No matter what the color and print, calico is always gorgeous, but no more so than when it’s made into desserts for a special occasion. Calico cookies are flowery, colorful, and dainty.
Make calico cookies for a garden party, a birthday, a Sweet 16 party, or a wedding. They look so soft and pretty that your guests might shy away from actually eating them. Hopefully, though, they’ll taste and enjoy the cookies that look like quilt squares. Shortbread cookies make the best calico cookies because they are flat and tasty. Sometimes I bake them; sometimes I just buy the cookies and decorate them.
When the shortbread cookies are finished baking and cooling you have several different options for creating the calico look. When you finish the decorating each cookie will resemble a square on a patchwork quilt. Decide on the method that you want to use for decorating and they’ll be finished soon.
One thing that you can do is to flatten fondant. Cut a square, tint it with food coloring (optional), and put the thin square on the cookie. Draw on it with an edible marker or use clean stamps, dipped in food coloring, or edible ink.
Another way to create the calico look is to use a sugar sheet. They’re now available in many patterns and colors; follow the instructions to cut and lay the piece on the cookie, and instantly give it the look of a quilt square.
Using ordinary frosting for calico cookies is another option. Apply it so that it is very smooth and then put the cookies in the freezer. When the frosting hardens, remove the cookies, and draw on them with an edible marker, or stamp them with clean rubber stamps.
Royal icing allows you yet another choice for creating the calico cookies. The icing turns out very smooth and slick so it gives you the perfect surface for stamping flowers or other prints onto the cookies.
When decorating the cookies it can help to look at calico prints online. You have lots of design choices but looking at images can give you an idea of various flowers, leaves, or other prints, that are common on calico. When you’re happy with the way the calico cookies look, serve them to your guests, and watch their amazement.