First, gather your ingredients:
1. The original post used 3 tubes of 16.5oz of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough but I found it was cheaper to buy 2 containers of Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix and have the eggs and butter for them. It'll come out to 24 cookies total.
2. Mini M&Ms
3. Powdered sugar & milk for the frosting in between the cookies (unless you have cake frosting on hand)
4. Cookie cutters
5. Food coloring
6. (optional) Flour
Start by preheating your oven to 350 and making your dough (or taking the tubes) and splitting them evenly into three bowls.
Color one bowl with red and the other bowl with blue food coloring (so they can be patriotic cookies!)
I recommend adding 1/4 cup of flour into each bowl, otherwise the dough won't have a great consistency for rolling out.
Now there are many ways you could combine these. You could take a little bit from each bowl, ball them up together, and roll it out to make a pretty marble (NOTE: if you do this too much, your dough will just taste like food coloring and come out purple!)
Take your big cookie cutter, cut out your stars, and lay the cookies out on cookie sheets with parchment paper. You'll need 3 big cookies to equal 1 pinata cookie (so there's a top, a middle, and a bottom). For the middle cookie, cut out a piece where the M&M's will eventually be housed. I only had stars so I just cut out a little star but it could be any shape, since no one will see it. The flatter/thinner you can make the cookies, the better!
While these are baking, separate out your blue and red mini M&M's from the rest of the batch.
To assemble the cookies, start by laying out your top, middle and bottom cookies.
Next, flip over the bottom layer cookie so the bottom is facing you.
Add your frosting around the edges (I used 2 cups of powdered sugar with 8 teaspoons of milk which equalled WAY too much frosting so you might want to just use 1 cup of powdered sugar with 4 teaspoons of milk).
Lay the middle layer cookie on top of the frosting.
Add frosting around the edges again and add your M&Ms to the center.
Place the top layer cookie on top and voila! Your pinata cookie is complete!
Now keep in mind... this is three cookies in one. It's a lot 'o cookie. And you won't be able to get many M&M's in one cookie (the photo below is for presentation only so don't let photos like this fool you!). Still, they're moist and there's candy and really, what more could you want?
TOTAL COSTS: About $13 (if you don't have any of the ingredients - prices from Vons)
$5 for 2 packages of Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
$3.99 for mini M&Ms
$2.49 for powdered sugar
$2.29 for milk
Cookie cutter and food coloring already on hand
TOTAL AMOUNT OF TIME: 3 hours, 15 minutes to make all 72 cookies or 24 pinata cookies
50 minutes to prep the dough
15 minutes to separate out the M&Ms
1 hour, 50 minutes to bake
20 minutes to assemble them all
They take a long time to make, between the mixing of the colors, the separating of M&Ms, the cutting out the stars and the middles... it's only worth it when you see the look on people's faces when they realize they're getting three cookies in one!