This Cinco de Mayo I was inspired by this to test my baking determination (and patience) and attempt these M&M filled pinata cookies. I was daunted by the multiple steps involved but I hadn't baked in a few weeks so was in good spirits for the the task. It turns out that though there was a few extra bowls and spatulas to clean and some food coloring/dough stuck on the ends of the counter and sink...this recipe was really fun!
Basically, you take three cookies and sandwich them together with icing, but you cut a whole out the center of the middle cookie and fill it with mini M&Ms to create the pinata effect.
Some lessons were learned along the way...and I found out a few tips I wish I had known ahead of time. For example...glass when frozen contracts, so pulling frozen dough out of a glass container that has basically shrunk is near impossible. Second, food coloring can be a messy business...keep it inside the bowl whenever possible.
This is what the frozen dough will look like once you've sliced it. The colors are so bright and beautiful, a little shocking, yes, but so full of fiesta.
If you saw the inspiration recipe for these you would know that it's suggested you use a donkey shaped cookie cutter for full pinata effect. I had a dog shaped one but felt disingenuine using it. So I switched to circles which I'm sure made things easier during the assembly stage and none of my friends commented that they were unhappy by the lack of themed shape to the final product.
Mmm...finally biting in!
Fiesta Rainbow Color Cookie Ingredients:*Makes about 24 cookies, so about 6 full pinatas (depending on the size of your cookie cutter)
*Gel food coloring works best, but I used liquid neon because it was all I could find.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 5 cups of flour
- 1 tblsp. vanilla (the original recipe also calls for 1 tsp. almond extract but if you don't have it skip it)
- 2 containers of mini M&Ms
- 1 container of frosting (you can make your own, but this is an instance I really wouldn't recommend it)
Start by using a beater to mix together all your wet ingredients (butter, sugars, egg and oil). It helps to dice the butter to get it to incorporate into the mixture. Next, mix the rest of the ingredients together in a separate bowl (the dry ingredients...flour, cream of tartar and salt). Then gently combine the two mixtures, stirring about a cup of the dry into the wet at a time. Finally add the vanilla and mix well.
Form the dough into five balls with your hands and then mix each one with a different color food coloring. I used neon. You'll have to wash out your bowl for each new color.
Next, layer the dough into a plastic tupperwear. The size has to be bigger than your cookie cutter, and rectangular in shape is ideal. It's a bit of a geometry puzzle but basically you're going to freeze this block of dough and then slice it length wise. Be sure to cover the inside of the tupperwear with plastic wrap first so that the frozen dough block can be pulled out easily.
You can form each layer with your hands (I divided each color ball in half, so made two tupperwear container blocks of dough). Just spread out the dough into a thin disk (no need to roll with a rolling pin) and then press flat on top of the layer below it.
Freeze for four hours or up to over night.
Remove from the container and use slice the dough into 1/4inch. slices. So of course using a round container like I did makes no sense here!
Lay the pieces onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake @ 350F for 12-15 minutes, depending on how thickly you've sliced them. Watch that the edges don't being to brown or they'll lose their bright color. Next cut out the shapes you want for your cookies and for the cookies that will be the in-between layers, cut out the smaller inner circles out of them as well. Then let all the cookies cool and harden for 30 minutes.
Finally, stack the layers together using icing to hold them together and fill the middle layer with mini M&Ms before topping the stack with the top cookie.