Thursday, May 15, 2014

Chocolate Pinata Graduation Cap Cookies

Graduation season is here and it's in full swing.  Parties are happening and graduates (of all ages) are being honored.  In a matter of a few days and in the upcoming weeks graduates will be walking through their school campuses for the last time and walking across a stage in a crowd filled auditorium to collect their diplomas.
There are 2 symbols that are synonymous with this time of year; the diploma and the graduation cap.  And the foods and desserts portray those symbols and are displayed in abundance.  When I was looking around the internet trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to make to share with you, I found A LOT of cute ideas that proudly portrayed these symbols but I wanted to do a little something different.  Something that still screamed graduation but something that wasn't readily seen.
Then I saw it.  I instantly knew that I wanted to, no, I HAD to make these.  Chocolate cookies that were formed into graduation caps, but it didn't stop there.  They were like little pinatas and stuffed with mini M&M's and then given candy tassels.  These wouldn't only be a fun addition to the dessert table, but a fun surprise to all who ate them.

Cookies alone are fun to eat, and they bring a smile to everyone's face who partakes.  But imagine getting a 3-D cookie that is filled with a surprise.  Something unexpected and so fun!  Just as many will have fun eating them, I had a blast making them.  Rolling, cutting, sculpting and "gluing"; making and assembling these were so much fun.
These will definitely be crowd stoppers as well as conversation pieces at the celebration for your graduate.  If you really wanted to customize them for your graduate, you could attach tassels in the school colors.  You could even go one step further and fill them with candy in the school colors, too!

Chocolate Pinata Graduation Cap Cookies

10 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
1 Egg
1/2 Tsp vanilla
1/3 Cup cocoa powder
1/4 Tsp baking powder
1/2 Tsp salt
1 3/4 Cup flour

1/2-3/4 Cup chocolate frosting, homemade or store bought
12 Scoops (about 1 tbsp) miniature candies
String candies, cut into strips
12 small candies


In large bowl combine butter and sugar and beat on high to cream, about 2-3 minutes.  Add egg and vanilla and beat on high until incorporated and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.  In a bowl combine cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt and stir to combine.  Add to wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.  Add flour and mix to combine.

Roll the dough into a ball and warp in plastic wrap.  Place in refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes to an hour.

Preheat oven to 375.

Once the dough has chilled, remove from refrigerator and place between two pieces of parchment paper.  Roll out to 1/8 of an inch in thickness.  Cut 24 (2 1/4 inch) circles and 12 (2 1/2 inch) squares.  Place 12 circles and 12 squares on a baking sheet and place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes.  Place in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.  Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Cut a small pie piece out of the remaining 12 circles.  Turn a mini muffin tin upside down and place the circles on the muffin cups, and wrap them around the cut, slightly pinching the pie piece to seal.  Cut off any excess dough, if needed.  Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Immediately after removing from the oven, press the tops of each cookie with a spatula to create a flat surface.  Allow the cups to cool, then gently remove from the tin.
To assemble-
Scoop tablespoon fulls of candy into each cup.  Pipe a rim of chocolate around the edges of each of the flat circles and place over the cookie cup.  Once the topped cups have set a few moments, turn over and place a dollop of frosting on the flat surface of the cookie cup and place the square cookie on the dollop of frosting.

For the tassel-place a little dot of frosting in the center of each square and attach the strips of candy.  Place another dot of frosting on the tassels and secure the miniature candy.

Recipe source: Hungry Happenings
                       Cookie recipe adapted from Lila Loa

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