Hope you have recovered from the weekend and Cinco de Mayo. I really wanted to post these last week, but as usual I ended up having a really busy week and didn’t get around to making these until Friday for our Cinco de Mayo dinner club Saturday night. These might be a little time consuming, but trust me it’s totally worth it! I searched and searched for a donkey cookie cutter and the best I could find was a pony one. My hubby calls these the My Little Pony Piñata cookies, but oh well I got the point across and people knew what they where right away. I’ve added some notes in red below. Since my cutter was little large I had to roll out the dough a little so I didn’t get the perfect looking line colors. I also didn’t want to end up with a lot of cookie waste so I cut out little squares and circles and made mini piñatas. You still end up with some crumbled leftover cookies, so any suggestions would be great. Off the top of my head I was thinking a crust and ice cream topper, but I’m stumped after that.
These cookies are really nice and colorful so you don’t have to add a ton of icing on them, but it is like eating 3 cookies so they are best shared.
(Adapted from Sandra Denneler)
1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 cups flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
Mini M&M candies
1/2 cup powdered sugar (frosting)
2 teaspoons milk (frosting)
Cream sugars with butter.
Beat in eggs.
Combine dry ingredients together, and then gradually add them to the mixture.
Mix in vanilla and almond extract. (I added these before adding in the dry ingredients)
Split dough into five (I only did 4 colors), even-sized balls and one smaller ball (this will be the black one). Add food coloring to each of the dough balls until desired color is achieved.
Gel food coloring gives you more intense colors than liquid.
Use a container the same approximate width of your donkey/burro piñata cookie cutter, and line it with plastic food wrap.
Split all of your colored dough balls in half (except the black) and begin layering the dough in the container, starting with the black dough on the bottom. Alternate the colors so that you end up with two layers of each color by the time you're done. (My colors started mixing a little when spreading them so I found it was easier to make them the correct even thickness then transfer them to the container.)
Cover the layered dough and freeze for four hours or overnight. This is the perfect time to conserve your creative juices for what lies ahead.
Remove the dough from the container and unwrap from the plastic. Cut slices, approximately 1/4-inch wide. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake them at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes. (My cookie cutter was larger then the slices so I took another sheet of plastic wrap, laid it on top of the cut slices and rolled them out a little.)
Immediately after you take them out of the oven, use your burro piñata cookie cutter to cut the cookie shapes. Working in sets of three, be sure to cut two burro piñata cookies in one direction and one burro piñata cookie in the opposite direction. (Just flip your cookie cutter over.) That way, when you go to assemble them, the finished cookie will look "pretty" on both sides -- because the baked, bottom sides will be hidden.
For the middle cookies in each set, cut off the ears and legs, and cut out the center where the M&Ms will go. I used a small square cutter, and made three cuts to get a narrow rectangle. Try to work quickly, because as the cookies cool, they are more likely to crumble or break. Let them cool on the baking sheet before you move them and remove the excess, outer cookie.
I didn’t want to waste any of the extra cookie area so I cut squares and circles and made mini piñatas.
To assemble, take the first piñata cookie and lay it upside down so that the baked bottom is facing up. Outline the center of the piñata body with a "frosting glue" mixture of milk and powdered sugar. (I used 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and two teaspoons of milk. If you put it inside a Ziploc bag and cut off a tiny tip of the bag's corner, you can pipe it onto the cookie easily.) (I used some leftover bottled cookie icing that I had on hand)
Put the middle cookie on top of the frosting glue and add the M&Ms to the open center.
Put another outline of frosting glue on the middle cookie and place the opposite-cut piñata cookie on top (so that the pretty side is facing out). Let these sit and harden for at least 30 minutes before you stand them upright.