I am a big fan of Pinterest. So far, I’ve made a few of the suggested gifts and tried several recipes; all of them have been successful. The chocolate banana bread is Bob’s favorite. Ask me before you make it. I think the recipe sequence is off.
But the one that recently attracted my attention was the recipe for donkey pinata cookies. They look SOOOOO cute. That’s just the way I thought about them in my mind. SOOOOO cute! Living in south Texas where we celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I planned to make the cookies. GE, the kids, and my niece, Claire, were coming for the week-end and it was inevitable that the mini M & M’s would be flying.
My first obstacle was the little burro cookie cutter. I couldn’t find one locally and had just about decided that we’d have to pass on the cookies when I found one at Michaels on Thursday afternoon. It wasn’t quite what I wanted. It was too large and the detail didn’t look donkey-ish. But it was a donkey. If I’d had any doubts, I only had to look at the display sign adverting for Cinco de Mayo. Even if it looked like a bulky German shepherd, I knew it was a burro. It was surrounded by colored paper flowers and margarita glasses.
I picked up those concentrated icing colors that Michaels sells and bought 6 tubes of sugar cookies dough at HEB’s. The directions require that you make a layered loaf of dough that’s the height of the cookie cutter so I measured my donkey. 6″ tall. Hmmmpt! I found a plastic box at Walmart that measured 6″ high. It was a little bigger than the one in the blog about making the cookies since it measured 5″ wide and 10″ long, but I always figure bigger is better. In my mind, the place where I am thin, 20 years younger, and am flying to Greece next month, the cookies would be beautiful, perfect, and I would hand them out to admiring family and friends.
I texted GE and Claire Friday to let them know that we had all the stuff for our cute donkey cookies. The plan was to color and layer the dough with GE’s kids on Friday night. At 2 and 5, they love squishing modelling clay so we figured they’d enjoy squishing color through cookie dough.
We used 6 colors and layered them in the plastic container. The layers were not quite halfway up the plastic box. Shucks. We needed more dough. Bob and I picked up 4 more tubes, Claire colored them, and GE layered them. We were still short on the container. We had a brief discussion over how much the dough would expand when cooking and decided to add a few more layers. We purchased six more tubes of sugar cookie dough, colored it, and layered it in the box.
The container now weighed 8 lbs and made a noticeable thunk when GE set it in the fridge to chill. GE and the kids had to leave for home before it was cool enough to cut, but Claire and I promised to send pictures and bring the kids’ cookies to Austin.
The cookie chunk was too hard and too dense to slice with a kitchen knife so Bob got the electric fillet knife to cut the cookie slabs. The slabs were huge. After 20 minutes of cutting, we smelled burning electrical wires and Bob had to get the backup electric knife.
I lined cookie sheets with parchment paper and could only fit 4 slabs on the largest sheet. The directions call for cutting the donkey shapes AFTER the cookie slabs are cut so having the dough spread didn’t seem like a problem.
We had preheated the oven to 350 degrees and set the timer for 12 minutes cooking time. At 12 minutes, the slabs had spread to fill the entire cookie sheet. And they weren’t close to cooked through. We went for another 10 minutes, checked, and set the timer for another 5 minutes. 27 minutes altogether to get the cookies done.
Claire and I slid the cooled cookies to the counter and started cutting our donkey shapes. When I had nagged Bob about cutting the dough slabs thinner, the cooked dough hardened so much that the cookie cutter couldn’t make it through unassisted. We used my claw hammer to tap the cookie cutter into the dough.
After repeatedly bashing the cookie cutter, the donkey shape took some imagination to see. In the end, it was in three pieces and GE’s suggestion that we could make donkey jello jigglers for our aunt’s 88th birthday in October was tossed along with the mangled tin cookie cutter.
I made the confectioner sugar/milk glue so we could assemble the cookies. The directions require that one cookie gets its ears and legs amputated along and a hole cut in its tummy for the M & M stash. We glued the middle cookie onto a “perfect” cookie, loaded the hole with candy, spread some more glue and topped with another cookie. Evidently, we should have cut some of the cookies from the wrong side so we’d have two perfect sides. What we got was one perfect side and one that was not that nice looking.
(Take a picture from the good side, Margaret, to send to Georgie. The GOOD side!)