Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Tux Cookies

Remember in my last post when I emphasized how important simplicity is to sugar cookie designs? This was a lesson learned the hard way. Before I even tried to make my Ubuntu cookies, I tried to make Tux cookies.

The concept seemed solid enough. I knew I couldn't put as much detail as I wanted to. Like the Tux Cake, I needed to break the design down into more primitive shapes. However, the shapes would be different than their 3D brethren. In the case of the cake, I needed to create a bowling pin shape, and then attach eyes, feet, wings, a beak and a chest. This was almost what was needed, except that each primitive needed to be an extruded version of the 2D shape. I would need the following shapes:

2 webbed feet (yellow)
1 beak (yellow, with a black smile if possible)
2 eyes (black with white around them)
2 wings (black)
1 chest (white), with slots for the wings
outer black color
outer white color, around the black

The first five components, once extruded into logs, would need to be carefully attached. The black color would be used partly as spackle, to make everything stick and partly as the actual black part of Tux.

The dough was made, as per the dough used for the Ubuntu cookies. A small part was set aside and colored with a bit of yellow. About two to three times that that was set aside and colored with a bit of black color left over from the Tux cake. The last bit of dough (about twice as much as the black) was left plain.

I started with the feet and beak. I rolled out two logs of yellow dough, and then pressed them at an angle with my board scraper. Then I took a toothpick and cut two notches in the short side. They actually looked like extruded feet. These were moved to the freezer. The remaining yellow was also rolled into a log, pressed a little flat, and then cut the long way down the center. This was also moved to the freezer. Finally, a very thin piece of black was rolled out into a long, flat strip about the width of the beak. I sandwiched that strip of black between the two pieces that had been cut in half. They had spent a few minutes in the freezer, so they were a little harder. With the beak finished, I tossed it back in.

Onto the eyes. I rolled out two very small logs of black. These were chilled for a few minutes while I rolled out two very flat strips of plain dough. I removed the black logs from the freezer and rolled the flat strips around them, trying to keep one end open to attach to the beak. I didn't know it at the time, but this would largely result in failure.

I moved the eyes to the freezer and moved onto the wings. These were black logs that were once again flattened and formed with my board scraper. Of course, these were also moved into the freezer. Then I moved onto the chest. This was a somewhat thick log of plain dough, and having been worked a little, was fairly pliable. I formed deep notches into it, and then plugged the wings into the notches. This was much easier than it sounds, because the wings were already pretty solid from the freezer.

While I was at it, I stuck the frozen webbed feet into the bottom of the chest. I also stuck the beak into the chest, and the eyes to the beak. This was when I started using black dough to spackle in between everything. I was mostly successful in eliminating any air pockets. I would frequently have to move everything back into the freezer to let it all get chilled again, so that it wouldn't fall apart on me.

With all of the black in place and thoroughly chilled, I rolled the whole thing in the remaining plain cookie dough. I had been hoping to get a more circular pattern, but at this point, I was running out of dough and patience. Looking at the end of my log, I saw what looked kind of, sort of like Tux... if you squint a little, and maybe turn the lights down low.

I learned a lot from these cookies. Much of what I learned was immediately applied to the Ubuntu cookies, which were actually made after these. That information is all in the Ubuntu cookies article. I also learned a little from these when I baked them, which was done after the Ubuntu cookies were baked. These cookies were smaller, and only baked for 9 minutes. I pulled them before the edges got browned, and so instead of being crispy, they were soft and chewy. It's up to you which one you like, but either one can be acheived with exactly the same recipe.

In the unlikely event that somebody else is crazy enough to attempt these cookies, please let me know how they turned out. As you can see, the Tux in my cookies doesn't look incredibly pleased to be there. That's probably not entirely because his beak somehow ended up sideways. Good luck in your own endeavors, I hope the spirit of Tuxmas blesses you more than it did me.


  1. These totally rock! I posted about you on my food site...hope that's okay. I thought I'd email to ask, but I couldn't find your addy. Cheers!

  2. Very impressive design and I enjoy your detailed how-tos. Jason has always told me about your cooking skills, I just finally headed over to your blog to check things out.

  3. First time visitor here .... I think these cookies look superb! I know a few penguin lovers, I may have to make some for them!

  4. Fabulous... I must try this for my Linux Geek freinds for Christmas.

  5. Holy Cow you have saved the day! Love the simple steps to follow, I thought it should be about like making clay beads out of sculpy! You have insiped cookies for every occation with our church group and Boy scouts! Thanks for your careful instruction so that we understood the process!

  6. Your baked goodies look awesome! The cake blew my mind away but these sugar cookies made me melt because of the cuteness. I wish I could bake.

    Will link to this recipe too. I hope you don't mind. I already linked to the cake post. :)

  7. these are too cute!! I'm a panda lover personally, which i couldn't help but think of when i saw the penguins (black & white). i'm you happen to have a panda log, by chance???


    The fact that the penguins look like penguins and not something else is impressive.

  9. Your penguin slice and bake cookies inspired me. I had only tried making a simple flower before. My wings were a bit too thin (not cute like yours), and the beak was too big and feet not quite big enough (ran out of yellow dough). They do look a little like penguins though - passable for a first attempt. My log was 12 inches long, 2 inches wide and 2.25 inches high before baking. After slicing I "massaged" the dough into a more oval shape to elongate the penguin into a better shape even though it made the baked cookies oval not round.


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