In my head, I keep calling these "fireworks cookies," although maybe they don't exactly look like fireworks.
What we have here are three-layer cookies (decorated on one side), with mini M&Ms exploding from the center. OK...they don't explode...now THAT would be cool. They are, however, a festive surprise when you bite into, or break off a piece, of these patriotic cookies.
The idea comes from the pinata cookie. Yes, THE pinata cookie. If you've been on Pinterest at all in the last two years, I guarantee you've seen it. It's pretty darn brilliant.
You'll need two sizes of star cookie cutters to make these. I have this set from Ateco. It's perfect. You'll want to bake twice as many solid stars as you do the ones with the cut-outs inside. I used my go-to recipe...don't forget to freeze the cut-out shapes for 5-10 minutes prior to baking. Really, do it.
You're also going to need to sort through a bag of mini M&Ms and pick out all of the red and blue ones. Can I tell you how many brown, orange, and green M&Ms I've eaten today? ALL OF THEM.
To make the M&Ms Inside-Patriotic Star Cookies, you'll need:
- star-shaped cut-out cookies, twice as many solids as cut-out centers (I used a cookie cutter that was 2 & 7/8" and got about 15 full sets out of one batch)
- royal icing (halve this recipe), divided and tinted with AmeriColor Super Red, Royal Blue, and Bright White
- disposable icing bags (3)
- couplers and #2 tips
- red and blue mini M&Ms
Use a #2 tip to outline the half of the solid cookies with royal icing.
Thin the icings with water, a bit at a time, stirring with a silicone spatula, until it is the consistency of a thick syrup. You'll want to drop a "ribbon" of icing back into the bowl and have it disappear in a count of "one thousand one, one thousand two." Four is too thick, one is too thin. Count of 2-3 is good. Cover with a damp dishcloth and let sit for several minutes.
Stir gently with a silicone spatula to pop and large air bubbles that have formed. Pour into squeeze bottles as needed.
Working 6-8 cookies at a time, fill in the outlines with the base color. Use a toothpick to guide to edges, and pop large air bubbles.
Starting with the first cookie filled, add dots, lines, etc, in the other colors. For instructions on marbling, see this post on Martha's fireworks cookies.
Let the cookies dry 6-8 hours, or overnight (uncovered).
Once the cookies are completely dry, it's time to assemble them.
Turn a plain cookie upside-down, so that the bottom is facing up.
Add a bit of piping-consistency royal icing along the edge of a cookie with the cut-out center.
Place onto the bottom cookie.
Fill the opening with M&Ms. Add more royal icing along the other side of the cut-out cookie.
Place the top cookie, decorated side up, on the stack. Let the cookies set for at least 30 minutes before packaging.
Cookies plus chocolate candies in one dessert?
I think our forefathers would have approved.