Fun, delicious Pac Man cookies for any event.
My sister is a bit of a world traveler, having lived in Taiwan, Korea, and everywhere in between. The upside of wanderlust-fueled lifestyle is that I constantly get excellent goodies from around the world. Recently, she brought me back an awesome set of Pac Man cookie cutters from Canada. I couldn’t wait to try them, and it was just my luck that we had friends coming over for a weekend barbeque. Needless to say, I baked up a big batch and these delicious bad boys were a big hit. And as a bonus, all the adults got to relive the nostalgia of playing Pac Man under the excuse of showing our children the classic game! And don't worry, if you don't have a world traveling sibling, you can order your Pac Man cookie cutters from Amazon.
This recipe starts from basic roll-able sugar cookie dough. The most important ingredient is the butter, of course! And to make a nice, fluffy dough that crisps up around the edges but stays soft and chewy in the middle, make extra sure to start the recipe with very soft, room temperature butter. No melting your butter, that’s cheating! Start the recipe with one and half sticks of nice and soft unsalted butter. Did you know Pac Man wasn't originally named Pac Man? Don't' just take my word for it, see the video!
The second most important step is to chill your dough when it’s finished. This will firm it up and help with the rolling process. Rolling your dough out can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have much practice. Furthermore, chilled dough bakes up nice and chewy. I’m sure there’s some explanation as to why cold dough makes chewier cookies, but it’s beyond me. Just throw the dough in the freezer for an hour and let the chilling magic happen.
Once the dough is nice and chilled, divide it into thirds. Tear off and set out a nice, big strip of wax paper and coat it with a light sprinkling of flour. Using a rolling pin (see the video for tips), roll out your dough into roughly ¼ inch thick sheets. Dip the Pac Man cookie cutters into flour, coating the edges. Gently but firmly press the cookie cutter into the rolled out dough and cut out as many ghosts and Pac Mans as can fit in the sheet. Using the extra dough that didn’t fit the cookie cutters, a teaspoon, and a tablespoon, cut out one-teaspoon large dots for the Pac Man ‘dots’ and one-tablespoon dots for the ‘power circles’. You want to able to recreate an accurate Pac Man board, don’t you?
Once you cut out all your Pac Mans, ghost, and dots, spray several large baking sheets with non-stick spray. Put the cookies in the oven at 350 degrees and bake them for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are just getting golden brown. Make sure not to overbake, or you’ll lose the chewiness, but don’t underbake them either – if the cookies are too soft, you’ll never get the frosting on. And speaking of, the frosting is the next step to the Pac Man cookies.
Whip up a nice, big batch of the cream cheese frosting (recipe is below). Just like the cookie dough, the frosting starts with the butter and cream cheese. No cheating with the microwave, just sit you cream cheese and butter for a nice, long time to make sure they’re nice and soft. Soft cream cheese and butter are the key to a well mixed, fluffy icing. After mixing the frosting, divide it into five containers. Then, mix yellow, red, light blue, pink, and blue food coloring. Use a little bit of red to create the pink and a little bit of blue for the light blue. If you’re doing the eyes, make sure to make some black and white frosting, too.
There are several ways to frost a cookie, as they say. For me, the easiest is to scoop the frosting into a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap it all up, and cut a small hole at the edge of the plastic wrap. Then you can just squeeze the frosting out directly onto the cookies and avoid any risk of tearing the cookies. That being said, these cookies tend to be hard enough around the edges that you can also spread the frosting directly on the cookies. Either way, just get the frosting on these puppies.
When the cookies are finished, be sure to present them in an accurate recreation of the PAC MAN arcade board for that finishing flair. It really adds that little bit of extra care to the cookies and will have your friends talking about them for weeks. Once you’re finished, just sit back and watch the cookies disappear. Oh, and make sure to play some good old fashioned, classic Pac Man while you eat them. I promise, they taste better that way!
- 3/4 cup butter
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- for the frosting:
- 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Beat the softened butter and sugar until well mixed. Add the vanilla and eggs and beat again. Pour the flour and baking powder into the wet ingredients and mix them in using an electric mixer. Put the dough into your freezer for an hour to chill it.
- After cooling, roll the dough out into 1/4 inch thick sheets. Use the cookie cutters to cut out Pac Mans and ghosts. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes.
- For the frosting: blend the butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar until mixed. Add the vanilla and mix again. Separate the frosting into five separate bowls and then mix in the food coloring.
- Using a spoon or plastic wrap, frost the cookies and serve.