This cookie represents my deep-seated insanity…I’ll explain in a minute.
One day, during my time-wasting online browsing, I came across a tutorial on how to make “pixel cookies,” which are cookies that achieve the look of older video games and other pixelated visuals using many, small strips of dough. People have made Pacman cookies, Mario cookies, and more. While not as pretty or fancy as decorated sugar cookies, I LOVED the effect. I don’t think you could create the same look with royal icing – it is possible, but it definitely wouldn’t look as authentic. So, I decided I had to make them. But, what to replicate? It was hard to choose – I had played my fair share of old school Nintendo – but I decided to do something a bit more modern…
Unfortunately for me, I didn’t realize how complicated the Nyan cat design would be.
I started by printing a picture of Nyan cat…
And then I used a ruler to mark the pixels (there is probably a more sophisticated way to do this, but I like working with paper).
Ok, so that wasn’t too bad. The image is 34 pixels by 22 pixels…which is…which is…
Seven hundred and fourty-eight little strips of dough. At this point, I questioned my sanity. I asked my husband for advice and, as always, promptly decided to do the opposite thing. I was already invested in this – I wasn’t going to back down because it would be hard…and take forever…for very few actual cookies…that would be humongeous. Ok, maybe I really wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. So, I forged ahead.
First, I made 3 batches of dough. To figure out how much of the dough should be dyed a certain color, I took 5 ounces of dough and used the handy Playdough Fun Factory to figure out how many strips it would make.
Detour – Easy peasy directions for using the Fun Factory:
1. Obtain a Fun Factory (I ordered mine from Amazon).
2. Use the template thingy to choose the section with the four square holes.
3. Put the dough in and press down on the lever.
Tada! Now repeat…187 times.
Back to business – I figured out that 5 ounces of dough made about 50 strips. This will vary for you, of course, depending on the recipe you are using, length of the strips, etc. So, make sure you do this step!
Once I knew how many strips I could make from a certain amount of dough, I could take the total number of strips needed of a certain color, divided by 50 (for me), and then multiply that number times 5 (representing 5 ounces of dough). It is much more complicated than it sounds!
I then dyed the dough and starting making strips.
I did this over several nights, so it never seemed that bad. It actually went much quicker than I thought it would.
Once the strips were done – it was time for the assembly!
Using my original template as a guide, I simply recreated the image with the strips. I counted how many strips of dough of each color were needed per row and put it together accordingly. Make sure your dough is chilled – this would probably be impossible with warm dough!
Here I am about halfway done:
The ends will look hideous – don’t worry! You will be cutting them off anyway.
Finally – I was finished!
I let it chill overnight before cutting. Important tips:
- Use a very sharp knife (and also be careful with said knife!)
- The dough needs to be very cold. Otherwise the act of cutting it with a knife will distort the pixel-y look you’re going for.
- Cut the dough in one fluid motion, if you can…or else you might get this:
I just used this end as the bottom of one of the cookies. After struggling with the first cut,
my genius my husband had a wonderful idea:
Turn it on it’s side! This allowed him to cut the cookies putting pressure on both ends of the knife in a smooth, downward motion. I was the cookie catcher, making sure that the cookies didn’t break or fall over as he cut. It worked nicely and the cookies looked like this:
I loved it! So pixel-y, so awesome. I noticed a couple little issues, but on the whole, I was super pleased with them.
Now, onto the cooking part…I was concerned about how to bake such a large cookie. My results weren’t perfect, but here is what I did:
For the recipe I used for the dough, I decreased the baking temperature by 25 degrees. The recipe stated that the cookies should bake for about 12 minutes, so I set a timer for 15 minutes. After that, I checked them every 3 minutes for doneness. At one point, I tented the edges of the cookies to prevent burning:
I ended up baking mine for about 26 minutes, but this will totally depend on the size and thickness of your cookies. I recommend checking every couple of minutes while baking.
You can see that it still got a little dark around the edges, but considering how big these suckers are, I thought that was pretty good! I’m not sure how to prevent the “curling” around the edges either – if you’re dealing with smaller cookies, I don’t think it would be much of a problem. Despite the flaws – I still love them!
How could you not love that sweet face?