Tuxedosam Dango Cookie Pops
Did you know our friend of the month Tuxedosam speaks fluent Penguinese and English. He also loves to eat all the time and his favorite food is ice cream.
Let's create some supercute and colourful dango-shaped cookie pops just for him!
About the Guest Blogger
Melissa Huang is the one-woman show behind the Instagram account, Melly Eats World (@mellyeatsworld). She enjoys making, styling, and eating cute food. She also watches way more animations than your average adult. Melly is slightly taller than Tuxedosam and is patiently awaiting her long, long-delayed growth spurt.
About the Recipe
This recipe is a fun twist on a traditional Japanese snack called dango (団子). What is dango, you ask? It is a type of Japanese rice dumpling that is oftentimes served on a bamboo skewer. Instead of making the dango out of mochiko (もち粉, which is Japanese sweet rice flour), we are going to make them out of cookie dough!
The type of cookie dough used in this recipe is commonly referred to as “one bite cookie (一口酥)” or inexplicably, as “German cookie (德國酥餅)” in East and Southeast Asia. I have scoured the internet but cannot find a definitive link to its so-called German pedigree. Ambiguous origin aside, it is a yummy cookie characterized by an addictively crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture which is achieved by using almost no liquid in the dough. It is also one of the easiest cookie to make with very few ingredients. Shaping the cookie dough into Tuxedosam does take some patience and time, but the result is so worth it! If you are rushed for time, you can simply roll the cookie dough into small balls and bake them.
- 55g to 60g unsalted butter
- 30g powdered sugar
- 70g low gluten flour
- 30g potato starch
- 5g whole milk powder
- 1g salt
- Food colouring
- Royal icing or melted chocolate
Makes about 6 to 8 cookie pops, depending on the size of the cookies.
Butter - Not all butter is created equal! For a recipe with so few ingredients, the quality of butter used will directly affect the taste and texture of the final cookies. For best results, use butter which contains 80% to 85% milk fat (oftentimes abbreviated to "M.F.”). I personally prefer using unsalted cultured butter which contains 82% M.F. If you prefer using salted butter, then omit the 1g of salt from the recipe. The butter should be softened in room temperature to about 65°F (18°C). In other words, the butter should be soft enough to cream without getting clumpy, but it should not be so soft that it barely holds its shape. Using overly soft butter will result in an oily dough which is difficult to shape. It will also cause the cookies to spread out too much during baking. Recipes for this type of cookie generally call for a 1:1.5 to 1:1.8 butter to starch (i.e. low gluten flour and potato starch) ratio by weight. As different brands of starch absorb butter differently, you may need to adjust the amount of butter in the recipe. If your dough is too soft, add more starch. Conversely, if your dough is too crumbly, add more butter.
Powdered Sugar -“What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Similarly, powdered sugar goes by many different names. It is sometimes referred to as icing sugar, confectioner’s sugar or 10X sugar. It is essentially granulated sugar milled into powdered form, with the addition of a small amount of anti-caking agent (e.g. corn starch).
Low Gluten Flour -To achieve the delicate, crumbly, and melt-in-your-mouth texture of the cookies, it is important to use flour with low protein/gluten content. Low gluten flour is commonly referred to as cake and pastry flour. In a pinch, all-purpose flour may suffice. In which case, you may want to substitute some of the all-purpose flour with potato starch. However, the resulting cookie made this way will have a tougher texture.
Potato Starch - Using a combination of low gluten flour and potato starch provides the cookies with a fine, tender, and crumbly texture. If you cannot find potato starch, corn starch or tapioca starch are competent substitutes.
Whole Milk Powder - Adding whole milk powder to the cookie dough is a quick way to add richness without having to add extra liquid. This is more of a personal taste preference, so please feel free to omit it.
Food Colouring - For this recipe, powdered or gel food colouring is best as liquid food colouring will make the cookie dough too wet. You will need to make different coloured cookie dough for Tuxedosam. Blue for his body and flippers, yellow for his beak and feet, brown for the ice cream cones and various other colours (e.g. red, pink, navy, green, purple etc.) to make his hat ribbons and bowties. Remember that Tuxedosam boasts a collection of 365 different bow ties, so let’s make him proud!
Royal icing or melted chocolate - For fine details such as Tuxedosam’s eyes, you may choose to pipe them out with coloured royal icing or melted chocolate.
- Baking sheet lined with silicone baking mat or parchment paper
- Fondant shaping tools
- Cookie cutters (1.5cm round cutter & 2cm flower cutter)
- Small food-safe paint brush
- Small spray bottle filled with water
- Oven-safe lollipop sticks (around 10cm in length and 4mm in diameter)
1. Adjust oven rack to lower third position and preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Since shaping Tuxedosam will take some time, you may wish to start preheating the oven a bit later (e.g. when you are half-way through shaping the cookie dough).
2. In a medium-sized bowl, cream butter with powdered sugar with a rubber spatula until smooth. If your powdered sugar is clumpy, give it a quick sift before using. Take care not to incorporate too much air into the butter. Excess air will expand during baking, causing the cookies to crack.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (i.e. low gluten flour, potato starch, salt, and whole milk powder). If the dry ingredients look clumpy, give them a quick sift before using. In two additions, add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar mixture from Step 2. Using the same rubber spatula, mix everything until a dough just forms, do not overmix. The dough will appear slightly crumbly which is normal. It will be worked on further in the next step. Total weight of the dough will be around 190g.
4. Colour ½ of the dough blue for Tuxedosam’s body and flippers. Divide the remaining ½ of the dough into thirds. Leave the first ⅓ uncoloured for Tuxedosam’s belly and hat. Colour the second ⅓ light brown for the ice cream cones. Divide the last ⅓ into various colours of your choosing (e.g. dark brown for the “melted chocolate” on the ice cream cones and red, pink, navy, green, purple for Tuxedosam’s hat ribbons and bowties). Take care to work quickly when colouring the dough, prolonged exposure to the heat from your hands will make the dough oily and dry. If dough appears too dry and crumbly, you can spritz a tiny amount of water to rehydrate it. Always keep the dough covered (either place them in a lidded container or wrap them in cling wrap) to prevent the dough from drying out.
5. For the full-bodied Tuxedosam (on the left of the photo below), take 9g of the blue dough and roll it into an egg shape. For the Tuxedosam “ice cream scoop” (on the right of the photo below), take 8g of blue dough and roll it into a ball. Working directly on a baking sheet lined with silicone mat or parchment paper, very gently press the dough balls down onto the oven-safe lollipop sticks. For added interest, I have placed the full-bodied Tuxedosam (on the left of the photo below) on a 45° angle. Ensure the dough wraps around the lollipop sticks, otherwise the baked cookies may fall off. If tiny cracks appear, gently smooth them out by patting them down with the tip of your finger.
6. Take a small piece of the uncoloured dough and flatten it (to about 2mm thickness) in between two sheets of parchment paper. Cut out small circles using a round cookie cutter (about 1.5cm in diameter, as shown in the photo below) to make Tuxedosam’s bellies. Place the circles on top of the blue dough as shown in the photo below. Gently flatten the edge of the circles down with your finger. I used a curved fondant tool (as shown in the photo below) to smooth out any uneven edges.
7. Repeat Steps 5 & 6 to complete the cookie pops as shown in the photo below. For the full-bodied Tuxedosam’s flippers (on the left of the photo below), roll tiny pieces (about 0.5g per flipper) of blue dough into teardrop shape (as shown in photo below) with your thumb and forefinger. I find it helpful to attach the flippers to Tuxedosam’s body with a small wet brush.
8. For the Tuxedosam ice cream cone (on the right of the photo below), take 4g of the light brown dough and roll it into a cone shape. Flatten the cone slightly and score crisscross pattern with a slanted flat-edged fondant tool (as shown in the photo below). For the “melted chocolate”, take a small piece of the dark brown dough and flatten it (to about 2mm thickness) in between two sheets of parchment paper. Cut out a small flower using a cookie cutter (about 2cm in length, as shown in the photo below). Cut the flower in half (as shown in the photo below) and attach it to the top of the light brown cone.
9. For Tuxedosam’s hat, take 0.5g of the uncoloured dough and roll it into an ellipsoid. Flatten the ellipsoid to make the rim of the hat (as shown in the photo below). For the crown of the hat, roll a tiny amount of the uncoloured dough (less than 0.5g) into a lens shape (i.e. ellipse with two pointy ends, as shown in the photo below). Place it on top of the rim of the hat and press down gently. For the ribbon of the hat, take a tiny bit of the coloured dough of choice (red in this case) and roll it into a thin string. With the help of a small wet brush, carefully attach the string right above the rim of the hat. For the bow tie, take a tiny bit of the red dough and roll it into two tiny teardrops and place them careful (pointy ends facing in) on the upper portion of Tuxedosam’s belly. I used a rubber-tipped fondant tool (as shown in the photo below) to straighten the edges of the bowtie. For Tuxedosam’s beak and feet, take a tiny bit of the yellow dough and roll it into 3 tiny ellipsoids. Gently attach and flatten the beak and feet. Alternatively, you can pipe on the finer details with royal icing or melted chocolate after the cookies have baked and cooled.
10. Bake the cookie pops on the lower third rack of a 300°F (150°C) preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes (or until the bottom edge of the cookies are lightly browned). Let the cookie pops cool down slightly on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool down completely.
11. Once the cookie pops have completely cooled down. Pipe the eyes using black royal icing or melted chocolate. You can also use royal icing or melted chocolate to attach some sprinkles on the “melted chocolate” portion of the ice cream cones.
12. Store the baked cookie pops in an airtight container. They will keep for about 3 weeks at room temperature in a cool, dry place. Leftover cookie dough can be stored in the fridge, tightly wrapped in cling warp, for up to a week. I used the leftover cookie dough to make some stand-alone Tuxedosam cookies and tiny ice cream-shaped cookies! Serve the cookies with a hot beverage or even better, on top of a Tuxedosam-approved ice cream sundae! Enjoy!
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