6 May 2012

Rainbow Dinosaur Piñata Biscuits

This recipe's name is not only a mouthful but making it took me quite a while - it was quite an enjoyable task, but one of those where the time flies and before you know it it’s 8pm and you’ve not eaten dinner yet. Quite a few biscuits disappeared not long after they were finished so I am assuming that they were quite nice – I didn’t eat any of the finished products but I ate enough of the biscuit pieces (see later) to know that they should taste quite nice.

One of my housemates showed me these piñata cookies and asked me to make them, so a few days ago I went on a mission to find a suitable cookie cutter. Of course a horse is a very specific and unpopular shape so the best I could do was a dinosaur (from John Lewis).

My biscuits are filled with Morrisons Choco Dots
The link to the piñata cookie tutorial does not provide a sugar cookie recipe, so I looked around my favourite blogs and found a few different ones; eventually I chose the recipe from Sweetapolita because Rosie (the author of the blog) was the only one who gave the ingredient quantities in metric as well as in cups. I don’t really understand the cup system so I try to avoid it where I can; I might invest in a set of measuring cups one day, but for now I will just continue to skirt around the idea.

The recipe didn’t provide a dough that was solid enough so, when it came to slicing it up, it didn’t keep its shape very well and I had to use a complicated knife-and-spatula manoeuvre to transfer slices of the dough to the baking sheet. Another problem that I had was that the layers of coloured dough weren’t as tall as the dinosaur so I ended up putting two slices together. The moral of this part of the story is to pick a shape that can be laid on its side or isn’t taller than about 3 inches.

On the plus side to the dough manoeuvring, you get to see lots of fun rainbow effects on your knife.
To rectify the dough problem, I’ve altered the flour-butter ratio so if you have the time to try this recipe you shouldn’t have to master any complicated dough-moving manoeuvres.

The next part of the task, once the dough had been baked, was to cut out and arrange the dinosaur biscuits. I actually managed to get two dinosaurs out of most of the biscuits I’d made, which was useful as to make them into piñata-type biscuits it was necessary to stick them together, using a smaller piece of biscuit to hold the sweets between them.

To make the bit that holds the sweets, I just took rectangles of leftover biscuit (the method is quite wasteful when it comes to leftover biscuit – I filled a whole Tupperware container with broken bits) and used an apple corer to cut two circles into the middle. To assemble the piñatas, the three parts get stuck together with some icing.

The biscuits were supposed to be striped, but I quite like the marbled rainbow effect that has been achieved. They’re a bit puffed up because I didn’t have enough plain flour so made up the difference with self raising flour – if you make your own they should be flat.

  • 750g Plain Flour
  • 350g Butter
  • 450g Sugar
  • Food Colouring – Gel food colouring gives the strongest colour and you’ll want a variety. I used red, yellow, green and blue
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Pack Mini Smarties (or other small sweet)
  • 4 Tbsp icing Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Milk

  • Find a Tupperware container that will hold a deep enough amount of dough for your cookie cutter.  Line it with cling film and put it aside.

  •  Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs one by one. Gradually stir in the flour to form a dough.
  • Divide the dough into four or five balls and colour each part differently. Divide each dough ball into two.
  • Press one of the dough ball halves into the bottom of the Tupperware container, making sure it covers the bottom completely. Repeat with another colour and continue, alternating the colours, until all of the dough is in the Tupperware box.

  • Put a lid on the box and put it in the freezer for at least four hours (this is not the only reason why baking these cookies took me all day, by the way!)
  • Preheat the oven to 175C/160C fan.
  • Remove the box from the freezer and tip the cling film-covered dough onto a large chopping board that has been covered with baking parchment. Remove the cling film from the dough.
  • Slice the dough into pieces that are about 1cm (around ½ inch) thick and use a spatula to gently place them onto a baking tray that has been covered in baking parchment.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes, remove from the oven and immediately cut out the shapes using the cookie cutter. Don’t move the biscuits until they are completely cool.
My biscuits, pre-cut. They look a bit like psychadelic slugs to me.
  •  If your cookie cutter shape has a stomach area or middle section, use it as a guide for cutting the shape for the part that holds the sweets. If your cutter has no discernible middle, e.g. it is a star shape, just use the entire cutter for the central biscuit. We’ll refer to this as the ‘middle biscuit' from now on so that nobody gets confused.
  •  Use an apple corer to cut two circles into the centres of the ‘middle’ biscuits.

  •  Make up some icing by mixing the icing sugar and milk together to form a paste, then use a spoon to run a small amount of icing around the edges of the circles on one side of the ‘middle’ biscuit. Press it into the middle of one of your biscuit shapes for a few seconds. Try to line the centre up with the shape of the ‘middle’ biscuit so that the ‘middle’ biscuit isn’t visible.

  • Put a few sweets into the hole in the ‘middle’ biscuit, then ice the edges of the circles on the free side and press it into the middle of another biscuit shape for a few seconds.

  • Repeat with all the other biscuits. To speed up the drying process I covered the finished biscuits with parchment paper before putting a medium-sized book on top. Don't stand the biscuits up until you're sure that they are dry. Mine only took 20 minutes or so.

And breathe. You’re done!

Miraculously, I was still full of energy when I was done with this and proceeded to make my dinosaurs stand around my cake stand in a dinosaur-like manner (see the above photo). If you’re at a loss for what to do with the remaining bits of biscuit, you could always make some leftover cookies.

Like I said, these biscuits are by no means economical on the waste front but I can’t see any other way of keeping the stripes in the dough. If you find a better way to go about it, please do let me know!

I'll be posting a chocolate cake on or before Saturday, so look out for it. Have good week - if we're lucky it might start to warm up any day now...


EDIT: I'm entering these into the April 2014 Biscuit Barrel challenge, hosted by Laura at I'd Much Rather Bake Than... The challenge is to bake anything that fits into a biscuit barrel and classes as fun... I think these fit the bill!


  1. These are definitely fun! I've wanted to have a go at piñata cookies for ages now though I think I'll need to set a long afternoon aside for them because I always take ages with stuff like this and get into a terrible mess. I'll be listening to your advice given here though. Thanks for sharing them with the Biscuit Barrel!

  2. These are amazing!! I love making pinata cookies - they are definitely well worth the effort and your rainbow dough is the icing on the cookie!


Did you try this recipe? Let me know what you think! Comments are always appreciated. Unless they are spam.