If you were basing your judgements of American culture based on food blogs, you’d probably think Cinco de Mayo was a really big deal here. But in reality, we food bloggers just get particularly excited about holiday inspiration and themed food posts. I also happen to love everything related to Mexican food, but I definitely use the 5th of May as another holiday milestone to celebrate here on the blog. And to excuse the inappropriate number of margaritas I plan on consuming Monday too, of course. I’ve shared a number of fiesta-inspired treats in the past- Bake Mini Churro Bites, Orange Tres Leches Cake, Margarita Cupcakes, and Mexican Chili Chocolate Cookies – and these taco cookies make a great addition to the lineup. They’re so freakin’ cute I can hardly stand it, and yes – they’re cookies!!
When I first saw these cookies online it didn’t take long for me to decide that I needed to recreate them. The general concept and “recipe” comes from Sandra Denneler of SheKnows.com, who I think is a creative genius. She’s probably most well known for her pinata cookies, which I also generously borrowed the idea to make these Birthday Present Surprise Cookies. One of my favorite parts of baking is getting creative and playing with food – there are some really crazy but totally adorable and fun things you can do with dessert and everything is fair game. Golden Oreos for taco shells? Why not. Hot tamales as cherry tomatoes? Yes, please! I actually made these cookies for my Mexican-themed birthday potluck party in March, but have been patiently waiting for the end of April to come around so I could share them when most seasonally appropriate. So now with only four days until Cinco de Mayo, I’d say it’s time to start playing with your food and celebrating this borrowed holiday from our neighbors to the south. Ole!
Although there’s not much technical baking skills involved with these cookies (you don’t even need your oven), there are a few steps involved in creating all the components and then putting them all together. Not much different than the process of making regular tacos really, only in my opinion it’s definitely more fun to snack on the leftover candy rather than vegetables as you make them. I can’t say these are the most amazingly delicious cookies I’ve ever made – let’s face it, lemon Starburst, chocolate Oreo truffle mix, and spicy Hot Tamales don’t usually share the same bite – but they’re so, so cute together you’ll just have to get over it. Or maybe just pick off a few pieces of the candy before shoving one in your mouth, it’s fun either way, especially washed down with a tangy margarita!
Oreo Taco Cookies
Recipe adapted from She Knows
Yield: 24 cookies
1 cup chocolate Oreos, crushed
1 cup vanilla frosting, divided
24 golden Oreos
1/2 cup peanut butter chips or melts
1/2 cup shredded coconut + few drops green food coloring
24 Hot Tamales candies
3 yellow + 3 orange Starburst candies
First prepare the Oreo truffle filling so it's ready to go. Either process Oreos in a blender or food processor to create coarse crumbs, or just place the cookies in a Ziploc bag and break them up with a rolling pin or with your hands. Place the crumbs in a medium bowl and mix in 1/3 cup of the vanilla frosting until the frosting is no longer visible and its evenly distributed.
To prepare the golden Oreo "taco shells", separate the cookies and scrape off the creme filling. Use a serrated knife to cut the Oreos right above the logo, so they're not quite halves but more like 2/3 and 1/3 pieces. You might break a few Oreos as you do this since the cookies are brittle, but hopefully you have a full package to try with!
Melt the peanut butter chips or melts in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until completely smooth and melted. Use an offset spatula or piping bag to place a line of melted peanut butter chips along the edge of the 2/3 piece of golden Oreo. Place the 1/3 piece on the melted peanut butter chips so it forms an open taco shell, and reinforce with more peanut butter if necessary. Set completed taco shells on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet to allow the peanut butter chips to set until hard.
To get ready to assemble the tacos, first dye your coconut but adding a few drops of green food coloring and a fork to evenly distribute the color. Then cut the Hot Tamales candies in thirds, keeping only the outer pieces. Unwrap the Starburst and place 3 in the microwave for about 5 seconds to soften up, then use a sharp knife to cut shreds of "cheese". Place all of these toppings somewhere accessible so your mis-en-place is ready to go for assembly.
Stuff taco shells with a bit of the Oreo truffle mix to represent the taco meat. Add a small line of the reserved vanilla frosting on top to act as "sour cream" but also a binding for the toppings. Place some shredded coconut, a few Hot Tamale pieces, and some shredded Starburst to the tacos, using a toothpick dipped in vanilla frosting to add more "glue" as necessary.
**Please check out the photo tutorial for creating these cookies at She Knows, it's very helpful!