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Friday, December 14, 2012

Pinata Cookies

Clear your calendar, because you are going to want to make these cookies and it is going to take a while!  Boyfriend and I spent the week making these treats for his companies holiday bake sale.  BF is the creative mind behind these cookies.  He saw this post from "She Knows" and thought they would make a great holiday cookie.  We also thought that they would bring a pretty penny at the bake sale and raise lots of money for Hurricane Sandy Victims.

The process was simple, but involved.  It took us three days to complete these cookies.  You could finish these in one day if you devote the whole day to it.  BF and I worked on these at night after work for a few hours.  For someone who does little to no baking/cooking, he was a great kitchen helper.  I made the dough on my own and he helped will all the remaining steps.  Give these cookies a try if you are looking for a fun project!

Here are a few step-by-step instructions for preparing these steppy treat!

Not shown, prepare your dough and divide it up into three balls.  Place each dough ball between two sheets of  plastic wrap.  Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness.  Place dough on a cookie sheet and put dough in the fridge for 1 hour.

Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Preheat the oven to 350 F and grab your chilled dough from the fridge.

Lightly flour the countertop and remove plastic wrap from the dough.  Stamp out dough with your desired cookie cutter.  Be sure to choose a cookie cutter that is large enough to punch a hole in the middle.  And remember, for each pinata cookie you will need three cookies, so stamp out cookies in multiples of three.  Using a circular cookie cutter, punch a hole in the middle of every third cookie.

Place cookie dough cut-outs on the prepared baking sheets.  Chill the baking sheets in the oven for 30 minutes.  Bake the cookie sheets for 10-12 minutes, depending on the size of your cookie.

Remove cookies from the oven once they just begin to turn golden brown.  Let cool for 1 minute on the baking sheets on a wire rack.  Remove from the baking sheet and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Now would be a good time to call it a day.  You don't want to ice the cookies until they are completely cooled.  Once you are ready to design and draw, make a batch of royal icing (I used Bridgets from Bake at 350, no changes required because it's an amazing recipe!)

Since BF and I went with snowmen and snowflakes, we didn't have to worry too much about icing colors.  We piped and flooded the cookies with white icing.  The snowmen got black hats too!  Day two was completely taken up by piping and flooding the cookies.  Let them sit overnight or a few hours until the icing has dried.  Remember, you only need to decorate a third of the cookies.  Do not decorate the cookies with a hole in the middle.

We used parchment paper cones to add the final touches to our snowmen.  Check out this helpful video if you want to make parchment cones for icing too.  I made tiny ones and we used them to pipe the carrot noses.  Okay, to be honest...  I piped the scarves and noses.  BF gave them eyes using a toothpick.

While your final decorations are drying, begin the cookie sandwiching.  Take the completely undecorated cookie and the cookie with the hole in it.  Pipe some royal icing on the back of the holey cookie.  Place the holey cookie on top of the undecorated cookie.  Do this for all of your cookies.  Let the icing dry for 30 minutes.  Now fill the hole with mini M&Ms.  Don't overfill, just a single layer of M&Ms should do it.

To finish your pinatas, pipe some more royal icing on the top of the holey cookie.  Place the decorated cookie on top and gently press down.  Ta Da!  Sandwiched, snowman, pinata cookie!

Maybe you want to see it done with the snowflakes?  These bad boys were edged and flooded with white royal icing.  Once the white icing was dry, some stiff icing was tinted blue and piped onto the tops of the cookies.  You don't have to be perfect, remember, every snowflake is unique!

We got a little fancy with these cookies and piped the holey cookie too.  Just a little...

Here comes the M&Ms!!!

This time we offset the cookies when sandwiching them together.  The icing on the center cookie shows through to the top and makes our snowflakes extra special!

I hope all of BF's coworkers like these cookies and they help raise lots of money for Hurricane Sandy victims!  All I know is they smelled delicious and I wanted to eat all of them.  It was difficult to let them leave the house without me!

Pinata Cookies
Inspired by She Knows
Using WITK's Almond Sugar Cookies

This is my favorite cut-out cookie recipe.  They cookies maintain their shape in the oven, yet still come out soft and moist.  When adding the flour, you want to add just enough for the dough to be slightly dry, but still hold together.  Once the dough goes into the fridge, it will begin to hydrate the flour and come together completely.  Work quickly when stamping out the cookie shapes, you don't want to dough to warm up too much.  There is a lot of butter in these!

3 sticks butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup almond flour
1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
4 1/2 - 5 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, beat together butter, powdered sugar and salt until smooth.  Add almond flour and vanilla and beat until combined.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the edges.  Add egg and combine.  Finally, add flour slowly until completely mixed.

Divide the dough into three balls.  Place each dough ball between two sheet of plastic wrap.  Flatten the dough balls with the palm of your hand.  Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness.  Place flattened dough on a baking sheet and place in the fridge for 1 hour to overnight.

Lightly flour work surface and remove one slab of dough from the fridge.  Stamp out cookies (in sets of three).  Punch a hole in one of the three cookies with a small, circular cookie cutter (I used a 1 1/2-inch biscuit cutter).  Place cut-outs on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Return to the fridge for 30 minutes.

Bake cookies at 350 F for 10-12 minutes, until just golden brown around the edges.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet, on a wire rack, for 1 minute.  Remove from the baking sheet and let cool completely on the wire rack.

Decorate and sandwich cookies as seen in the above photos.  Treat your friends and family with a holiday cookie surprise!

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