Disney’s new Moana movie comes out on DVD today, and given that my kids have been singing the songs ever since we saw it in theaters last Fall, I’m pretty sure we need to buy it. I have had this idea in mind for Moana Party treats — a pinwheel cookie inspired by the Heart of Te Fiti, which is a really big deal in the movie. If you haven’t seen Moana yet then the Heart thing is not going to make sense, but it’s too complicated to explain — you just have to see the movie!
Modette has requested a Moana party for her birthday, and I’ve been loading up my Moana Pinterest board and mulling ideas over, including these Heart of Te Fiti cookies. Yesterday, as the girls were belting out one of their favorite songs from Moana, we decided to scrap our plans for the day and do some cookie making. Of course when we began, I wasn’t intending to scrap ALL our plans, but after one recipe fail, the cookies quickly became a full-day endeavor. We are all pretty happy with the end result, even if it did mean my house got trashed and no one ate anything but cookies or dough all day LOL!
These Heart of Te Fiti cookies are pretty much the perfect Moana Party treats, and luckily you get to benefit from our trial and error! These Heart of Te Fiti cookies aren’t hard to make at all and since you don’t have to worry about photographing the process I promise they won’t take anywhere near your whole day. Also if you’re making these for a party, it will be nice to know you can make the dough ahead and refrigerate.
Mixing up the cookie dough is pretty straight forward, just follow the recipe. It’s a well-loved sugar cookie recipe, and I substituted some coconut oil to make them more tropical and fitting of Moana Party treats. The optional lime extract helps to bring out the coconut flavor — these Heart of Te Fiti cookies are delicious! Below are some shots of the whole rolling out process, because that’s the real tricky part.
Once you have your dough mixed up, begin by separating it in half and color one a lighter and the other a darker shade of green. It was hard for me to measure out the food coloring, partly because the kids were helping and partly because I just kept adding until I achieved the color I liked. I used both a neon green and regular green food coloring. In the lighter one I used mostly the neon, with a few drops of regular green to keep it from looking too yellow. In the darker one I used mostly the regular green, but I added a small amount of the neon green to keep the hue consistent with the lighter colored one. Hopefully that makes sense. Sorry I can’t be more precise here.
I had originally planned to knead in the food coloring like you do with fondant, but that was pretty messy. The best method was just to add the dough sections back into the mixer and color each one. Just in case you use a Kitchen Aid mixer too, I tried to use the dough hook for the coloring part, but the flat paddle beater still worked best. In fact, if you don’t own one of the scraper blades you really should get one — it will change your life! (Just be sure to order the correct size for your mixer model.)
Using two pieces of parchment paper, roll out each section of dough into a flat rectangle about a 1/4-inch thick. You’ll want to stop rolling periodically to straighten the edges of the dough so you can get as close to a rectangle as possible. Normally as I’m rolling out sugar cookies, I don’t care what shape my dough takes, but the shape is important with pinwheel cookies because you’ll be needing to match up both layers and trimming off the excess, so obviously the more square you are the more cookies you’ll get in the end. Once you have two rectangles that look approximately the same size and shape, pick up the parchment paper of the darker green piece and flip it on top of the light green one. I think you could also roll up the one piece of dough and unroll on top of the other, like you would with pie crust. This method is what I’d planned to do originally, but our dough got a bit dried out as we were photographing, etc. and it was cracking as I rolled, so I opted for the flipping thing which was faster and worked out fine. Since I’m guessing you won’t be photographing your dough as you go, the roll up method would probably work fine if you prefer.
With the two pieces of dough stacked, gently roll them to press together. Next trim the edges so they’re perfectly even and the corners are squared. Using the parchment paper lift the dough and gently roll up. Again here my dough was drier so it was cracking a bit, but I used the parchment to help me smooth out the cracks as I rolled the dough up. Once it is rolled up you may wish to refrigerate the log for a few minutes so it’s less likely to smash as you’re cutting the cookies.
For my Moana Party treats I plan to make the dough up a day ahead to this point, then I’ll wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until it’s time to make the cookies on party day. Let the refrigerated dough sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes or until it’s soft enough to cut through.
Cut the cookies using a serrated knife, which won’t smash them down as much.
Cut the cookies about a 1/4-inch wide, using a serrated knife, which won’t smash them down as much. As you’re cutting, the side of the dough log that is touching the cutting board will flatten out. So every couple of cookies I rolled the log to help it keep it’s round shape. Place the cut cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for baking. I fit 15 cookies on each of my pans, and the recipe made a total of 30 cookies. After baking let them cool on the cookie sheet for about 20 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
There you have your Heart of Te Fiti cookies — the perfect Moana Party Treats! I know these are going to be a big hit at our Moana Party this spring.
Moana Party Treats: Heart of Te Fiti Cookie Recipe
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, softened
1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon lime extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
2-1/2 cups flour
neon green good coloring
green food coloring
Cream together all the ingredients from butter to baking powder. NOTE: do not completely melt the butter or coconut oil, just softened so they’ll cream. Next mix in the egg, then add the flour. Divide dough into two equal parts and dye one a light shade of green and the other one darker green. Using two sheets of parchment paper, roll out each section of dough into a rectangle. Place the darker green piece on top of the lighter piece then gently roll to press them together. Roll the dough up to create a dough log. If the dough seems soft, you can refrigerate for a few minutes to make it easier to cut without smashing the cookies. Cut 1/4-inch slices off the dough log and place them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (or use a silicone baking mat). I fit 15 cookies on each half-sheet pan. Bake in an oven heated to 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for about 20 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Makes about 30 cookies.
If you want more Moana party food ideas, try my Kakamora Treat Bars…162