September 19, 2014

Pinata Cookies - with the Donkey Cookie Cutter (otherwise known as a Democrat Cookie Cutter)

Back in 2012 I was browsing the SheKnows site and saw the awesome Pinata Cookies that were so popular that Spring.  I just checked today and am thrilled it's still up and running!  Many times I bookmark a site or a particular recipe only to find it's long gone in 6 months or a year or two, so I usually try to download my favorites to my website to store and keep them 'just in case'.  This one is still going strong.  Probably because they are just that cool.

Although I didn't plan on hosting a Cinco de Mayo party that year, I loved this idea and had a moment of 'why didn't I ever think of this!?'   I saved the idea to my files to make after we knew some people in our new city/state that we had just relocated to, or for a birthday as a "pinata" birthday goodie.

If you by chance haven't seen the M&M stuffed cookies (although they are ALL over the internet so you'd have to try pretty hard not to, LOL)  they are a multi-colored sugar cookie with a second for the back side and sandwiched in between them is a third cookie with the ears and feet cut off and used to hide the goodies inside.

Photo's from the link above at SheKnows

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 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. Add oil. Combine dry ingredients together, and then gradually add them to the mixture. Mix in vanilla and almond extract.

Split dough into five, 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.

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.

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 haven't made these yet - the photo's are from the recipe link above

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.)
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.

As noted in the recipe above, you will need vibrant, gel food colors, not liquid.  Liquid can't get as vibrant and for the amount you add, your dough becomes too sticky and wet.

I found these on Amazon.  They are highly rate and are the Americolor Soft Gel Paste Student Kit- Culinary Academy 1st Choice!

Now for the cutter's!  This is the cookie cutter most of my visitor's end up purchasing;  It's the first Choice of most of my readers...

Copper!  This cookie cutter is most beloved.  A little more expensive, but it's copper, handmade in the USA and is large enough to not only tell it's a donkey, but works for the Pinata cookies as there is room to stuff them! 

  • Handmade in the USA from timelessly beautiful solid copper, this cookie cutter is a work of exceptional quality and durability. Sizes may vary slightly due to the handcrafted nature of this product. One side of the copper is tightly folded over for safety and stability.
  • In business since 1983, we have served well over 100,000 customers who've discovered the timeless value of our superbly made, high quality, beautiful copper cookie cutters.
  • Apart from the actual bending of each cookie cutter, each of our cookie cutters undergo a 15-step manufacturing process overseen by our Coppersmith Ray Braman. This process is designed to ensure every cutter that leaves our workshop is of the highest quality. These production qualities are very unique, and quite extraordinary given the many shapes, sizes, and categories of copper cookie cutters we offer.
  • Our copper cookie cutters are hand-formed, hand-soldered, and marked with our "Maker's Mark". The maker's mark dates back to the early middle ages when metal craftsmen marked each piece they created with a distinctive symbol, much like an artist signs a finished painting.
  • Because of the attention to quality in making this cookie cutter, we generally cannot undercut the prices of the more common foreign made or lighter weight copper cookie cutters on the market.

Democratic Donkey Cookie Cutter
If you can't get the copper cookie cutter above, this would be my second choice.  It's large enough to use for a stuffed Pinata Cookies as it says it is 4.8" tall at the highest but I also love that it has a handle on it!  This really is helpful and is a plus when you are stamping out many cookies.  This would be a great option if you need a nice large cookie cutter.

  • Made of tin wth sturdy handle
  • Colorful card with cookie recipe included
  • Great also for brownies and finger sandwhiches
  • Made in the USA!

These not in my top choices at all for pinata cookies because they are so tiny however, if you need to make donkey cookies for a barnyard party, a democrat political event or yes... even pinata cookies with just a tiny bit of 'candy stuffing' these would do on a very tight, small budget.  And admittedly, I'm usually in that very tight, small budget crowd!!

  • Made in the USA
  • Cookie cutter measures approx. 3"
  • Made of tin plated steel
  • Great for cookies, sandwiches, brownies . . .
*He's a little guy!  Only 3 inches big at his tallest!  Won't work especially well for Pinata cookies, but it could be done. 

  • Tinplated steel
  • Wipe with damp cloth to clean
  • Heavy duty, not flimsy
  • Great for cutting cookie dough, craft clay, soft fruits.
  • Not Dishwasher safe
*This one is very tiny and does not have a handle.  Some reviewers have complained about the size, the shape and the fact that it doesn't resemble a donkey well enough.Print Friendly and PDF