Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Cutest Panda Cookies

The last semester I baked cookies for my students (I’m a TA, you can learn more about me under the “About Me” tab), so I thought I should do that again this semester. Everyone likes chocolate chip cookies, but I wanted to wow my students and give them something memorable, so I made panda cookies. There is nothing complicated about these cookies, they are just your normal sugar cookies, but with some creativity, time, and love, I made your plain sugar cookie in cookies that are super cute and would bring a smile to your face.

I made them at the end of the semester, which was a while ago, so this is one of my past baking notes series, where I share about food I have made in the past but didn’t have time to write about.
I used a sugar recipe like this one here, and then made my cute little animals sculpting the dough like clay. To create the brown colored dough, I added in some cocoa to about one third of the dough. I was being lazy and just added about a tablespoon of cocoa so that the color showed, but you didn’t really taste chocolate when you ate the brown parts. If you are feeling diligent, feel free to use a chocolate cookie dough recipe like this so you’re chocolate parts will actually taste chocolate as well. My previous experiences have told me that you have to be careful with the cocoa you add in the dough, because not the right amount (basically too much cocoa) can make your cookies slightly bitter and kind of dry and sandy. 

The mixed dough will be very soft, too soft to make shapes, so throw that in the fridge, covered to retain the moisture, for around 15 minutes or until your dough feels firm enough to sculpt like clay. Again, I was in a hurry and so I put my dough into the freezer.  Get creative and think of what animals you could create with just two colors, there are a lot of them: pandas to start with, and I also made a few doggies, and a few bears (that people said looked like piggies). I chose these animals because they were pretty easy to make, the round faces; but I’m sure there are unlimited possibilities you could try with dough of two colors.
Before oven

Still cute after oven, if not cuter

To make my animals even cuter, I whipped up some frosting (just powered sugar, water, and some corn syrup, and food coloring in black and pink mixed to a consistency that can control but if you want the ratio and recipe, try this) and gave my animals a blush and their eyes and smiles, and now they look super cute! I also made some “propaganda cookies” to promote my class. Hahaha. But then I did get pretty good student feedback from my class this semester so surely they enjoyed the class.

I made enough cookies for 46 students, not everyone got an animal (there’s also the normal round ones) but at least half of them did. I was quite happy as my students went oooo and ahhhh at the cute cookies and snapped pictures with their phones. The once in a semester baking for students has become an opportunity to test out my creativity on a large scale. Next semester I shall plan earlier and see what I can make.
I want cookie too!

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