Hey Instructabrarians, Guess what?
Today, I'm doing something a bit more unusual and entering a dangerous mysterious realm: FOOD. Prepare yourselves for my first cooking instructables ever! A couple of months ago, I got a message from Instructable's TOP SECRET, high performance, electronic messaging system (aka Gmail) about these fantastic rainbow cookies filled with candies- they were called Pinata Cookies! Well, it was love at first sight and even though I know baking like I know my women (of which, I know nothing) I had to learn to make these.
So, last Tuesday I had the most fortuitous opportunity to stop by the HQ and attempt to make these for the office. Making cookies at Instructables? What could be more awesome! Special thanks goes to Christy and Eric for providing me with excellent tips for this. Your "No arguments against cookie-making, ever" is pure brilliance.
Step 1: Ingredients (yes, I'm using a mix)
This is a really fun project that basically uses a standard sugar cookie recipe layered together with three different ones.
As my first cooking instructable, I am entering this as a beginner, so for you experts this will probably be a bit slow. Also, for this recipe, I'm using a cookie mix. Yes, I know it's technically cheating but for my first cooking project I just wanted to make it as simple as possible.
1 Cup of Butter
2 bags of Sugar Cookie Mix *Food Coloring (w/ at least four different colors)
Candies (for cookie evisceration: M&M's, Reese's, or Sprinkles work the best)
Squeezable Icing Cooking Supplies
Large Non-stick bowl
Also, for authenticity, you'll want to use a donkey shaped cookie cutter. I bought mine on Amazon
Step 2: Add Mix To Bowl
Since I wanted to make enough cookies for the office, I decided to use two bags of cookie mix.
Step 3: Add Butter
Since I added two bags of the mix, I doubled the amount of butter from 1/2 cup to a full cup. Start beating the butter into the mix with a wooden spoon.
Step 4: Add Eggs
After adding the butter into the bowl, I thought the mix wasn't....mixing. So instead of adding two eggs, I added a third one. Eric suggested to me it wouldn't change the flavor but it would make the consistency a but more cake-like.
Step 5: Beat With Spoon
Continue mixing the dough into a bowl.
Step 6: Make Four Dough Balls
Divide the dough by how many food coloring options you have. I used a standard four primary color, just to keep it basic.
Step 7: Colorize!
WIth the four dough balls, add food coloring to each one and continue to mix. What I found best was when I'm mixing food coloring, is to add one drop per every 10 whips. If the color is not coming out, continue to beat the dough. Note: I found that with a dark color like Blue, you have to add more food coloring to compensate for the paleness of the dough. I ended up adding three times as much food coloring to it.
Step 8: Layering Dough
Now that you have your four dough colored balls, you need to find the right container to freeze it in. For this, you'll want to find a small container with the right dimension so that your donkey cookie cutter will fit nicely inside. I found this nice bread loaf tin inside the cupboard of Instructables and it worked perfectly. When layering, be sure that it's even across all sides, so that the colors are consistent.
Step 9: Freeze that Sucka!
This step is important, as it will make your dough easier to slice when making the cookies later. Online, the suggested amount was 4 hours or overnight. Since adding in an extra egg, I found that it freezes much faster- reducing my time from 4 to 2. The dough should be firm and rigid, but still able to be sliced.
Step 10: Slice Dough
So with this recipe, the actual cookies will be the square slices from your dough log. The donkey or cookie cut shapes will be cut AFTER baking. I tried a variety of methods when doing this step. At first I tried using a knife, but it unfortunately had an incline shape and cookies came out uneven. Then I read online that using string, like a cheese slicer might work, but unfortunately the log was too frozen to be cut easily. Eventually I settled for a simple, flattened steak knife.
Step 11: Cooking Cookies
Preheating Oven: Should be between 350-375 degrees, depending on your cookie batch. Cook Time: After preheating mine for three minutes, I set mine to 365 degrees for the large slices. Set your time for at least 9 minutes, if you're cookies are large (2'' X 2 '') The cookies should rise a bit when cooking, about a quarter inch. When they start getting a bit brown around the edges, take them out of the oven.
Step 12: Cookie Time!
After the cooking the cookies, take them out of the oven and place them on a heat-absorbing countertop to cool.
In this step, take your donkey cookie cutter and cut into the cookies while they are still warm. Do not remove the animals yet, but just make the indentations- we will remove them later. Also during this step, you'll want to cut off the stomach, ears and legs of every third donkey, for the middle "inner" cookie.
Remember how much fun you had when biting off the heads of gingerbread men? Imagine a tray full of this! To remove the intestines from my middle donkey, I used a clean water bottle cap.
Note: A useful tip from Christy was that while the cookies are cooling, put them into the fridge/freezer so they can harden faster. This will be important for the next step.
Step 13: Donkey Extraction
Ha, this sounds like an extermination company :)
Once the cookies are done cooling, use the cookie cutter and cut into the now hardened cookies. Separate the donkey-shaped cookies from their rectangular prison and place the extra scraps in a bowl. Note: A good thing about this project is that while it does take a long time to make, the "cookie remnants" offer a tasty appetizer for your hungry guests.
Step 14: Donkey Evisceration
Sweet! Now that you have your donkeys cut out, it's time to begin the fun part- building up the Piñata! Using icing as glue, you'll be building up the two sides + the inner middle donkey for your piñata. The cookie piñata is a pretty ingenious design. It's actually three separate cookies, glued together by icing, with the middle cookie gutted for room for it's tasty, delicious intestinal goodies!
I was pretty fortunate and actually found at Target a container of Icing in the shape of white glue. I may use this in a future project for "How to Eat Glue (Fake Version)"!
Step 15: Cookie Time!
Now that the piñata is built, it's time to serve to friends! Have an office fiesta and celebrate! And folks, that was my first cooking instructable! I hope you enjoyed this project as much I enjoyed eating it. I now have a much deeper respect for our site cooks than I ever imagined, and would love to practice this craft more.
¡Tienes un tempo bueno! SHIFT!
Step 16: Piñata Awareness
Every year, millions of piñata are brutally murdered for the enjoyment of children's birthday parties, office celebrations, ceremonies or commemorative events. I would like to take the time and honor these valiant rainbow cardboard heroes that sacrificed their lives for our enjoyment. May they continue to serve us with their tasty goodness.