Well that’s certainly an odd name for a cookie you may be telling yourself, and to that I do not disagree! Honestly, If you were to do google search for it you’d probably just end up with a bunch of cactus pictures and bedding advertisements. This oddly named cookie is only strange from our human perspective however. For if you were, say, a Hocotatian, you might see the world around you a little differently.
You’d see the world around you differently because you’d only be two centimeters tall!
Hocotatians are the characters you play as in the Pikmin game series. These plucky pint-sized protagonists find themselves exploring an alien world in search of ship parts, treasure, or food (depending on the game.) Unfortunately, to them everything is gigantic! This is where the Pikmin come into play. Pikmin are half plant half animal creatures that help out our heroes by essentially doing all of their dirty work. Whether it be fighting enemies, carrying heavy objects, or solving puzzles, the Pikmin are happy to lend a hand in return for the relative safety that Hocotatians like Captain Olimar provide them.
Part strategy game and part action, the original Pikmin came out for the Nintendo Gamecube in 2001 and has been a unique member of the Nintendo IP pantheon seeing a string of successful sequels. Captain Olimar, introduced in the first game, has even been a contender in Super Smash Bros. for its last two entries. Although I didn’t spend too much time with the games as a kid, Hey! Pikmin was just released for the 3DS and after enjoying the demo, I figured I’d take a second look at the series. Luckily my girlfriend is a Pikmin veteran and brought me up to speed really quick!
now to make tiny pawns and bishops
Oh yeah, I bet you’re still wondering about that whole mattress thing. Well, in Pikmin 2, our heroes Captain Olimar and Louie are tasked with collecting ‘treasures’ from the alien world PNF-404. Now I won’t come out and say that the planet is Earth, but it’s definitely very Earth-like. That being said, the treasures, that our heroes find are often pieces of human junk like bottle caps, screws, and the occasional food item. One of the most entertaining parts about the seemingly dull job of collecting random trash comes from the names that the Hocotatians come up with the describe these relatively alien objects. With this skewed perspective a bar of soap becomes a “Sud Generator,” a rotary phone dial becomes a “Nouveau Table,” and of course our checkerboard cookie becomes a “Succulent Mattress.”
I made a pretty basic checkerboard cookie a while ago in my Yoshi Cookie recipe, but I’m happy to say that this one tastes much better! It does take a little more patience, and measuring.. yes measuring, but trust me, your hard work and diligence will pay off when you’re rewarded with that striking checkerboard pattern. People will think you’re a magician, seriously. And although to us it isn’t quite as big as a mattress, this cookie is so soft, I’d certainly sleep on one if I could!
As always, feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below. And if there’s another Pikmin food (or any video game food for that matter) you think I should try, please don’t hesitate to let me know!
+ Checkerboard Cookies +
Makes about 30 2½” cookies
|Unsalted Butter (room temp)||3 sticks||340 g|
|Sugar||¾ cup + 1 Tbsp.||165 g|
|Powdered Sugar||1½ cup||210 g|
|AP Flour (1)||3 cups||360 g|
|Salt||1 tsp.||5 g|
|AP Flour (2)||⅓ cup||45 g|
|Almond Extract||½ tsp.|
|Cocoa Powder||⅓ cup||31 g|
|Vanilla Extract||½ tsp.|
- Sharp knife and a cutting board
- Mixing bowls
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Plastic wrap
- Ruler or protractor
- Rolling pin
- Pastry brush
- Digital scale (recommended)
1) This cookie dough will be mixed together using the ‘creaming method’ that I’ve touched on in previous recipes such as my Yoshi Cookies so most of this walkthrough will be dealing with how to handle the dough once it’s been mixed. That being said, here’s a quick creaming method cheat sheet for you. (Remember to scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl between steps!)
- Beat together the room temp butter and sugars until light and fluffy
- Add the eggs one at a time and mix to incorporate
- Sift the first portion of AP flour [labeled as (1)] and the salt into the batter and mix to combine
2) Once you have your giant portion of dough, divide it in half and place one of the portions back into your mixing bowl. Add the second portion of AP flour [labelled as (2)] and the almond extract and mix carefully until fully combined. Remove it from the mixing bowl and then work with the second half of dough. To this, add the cocoa powder and vanilla extract and mix carefully until the dough is one solid color.
3) Weigh out 1 lb (453 g) of dough from each color saving the excess dough for later. Wrap the dough pounds in plastic wrap and form them into stout square columns (technically called a “cuboid.”) The dough will be very soft, but try your best to press the face into a 2½” x 2½” square. Wrap up the remaining two smaller portions of dough and place everything in the fridge to firm up for at least two and a half hours. (For the remainder of the recipe I recommend that any time you aren’t actively working with the cookie dough, to store it back in the refrigerator so it can stay as firm as possible.)
4) After the dough has had enough time to firm up, remove the two large portions of dough to a cutting board. Precision is important in achieving that clean checkerboard pattern so we’ll be using a ruler to ensure our dough is the correct size throughout the procedure. The first step will be trimming our dough to as close to 2½” x 2½” as we can get it. Use a ruler (or protractor like I did) to mark the correct dimensions and then use a sharp knife to cut away the excess. (Any excess dough here can be added to the portion of dough of the same color in the fridge.)
Note that not every side of the dough will be 2½”. It’s a little difficult to see in the picture above, but only two faces of the “prism” will be perfect squares, the other four faces will be rectangles.
5) Now that you have made your cuboid dough, it’s time to slice them into layers. Use a ruler to mark off ½” measurements lengthwise across the dough that will delineate your knife cuts. Do your best to cut straight through the dough and end up with five rectangular slices per dough color as seen in the top left image below.
6) Alternate the dough colors and place them side by side between pieces of plastic wrap, then gently flatten them to a uniform height with a rolling pin (if your cuts were precise, they should already be pretty close.) Now we can begin the first round of stacking! Brush a very small amount of water in between the layers as you stack and gently press down in order to help them adhere to one another. You should end up with two stacks of 5 layers each.
7) Turn one of the stacks on it’s side so only one color is facing up and mark another series of ½” slices to make in the same way as before. Repeat this process for the other stack so you are left with a total of 10 striped slices. Use plastic wrap and a rolling pin like before to ensure uniform thickness and proceed to stack the slices in an alternating pattern to achieve the checkerboard look. Remember to brush with water and apply a little pressure to the slices so they stick together nicely.
8) Now to wrap things up figuratively by wrapping up the cookie up literally! Take the excess cookie doughs from earlier out of the fridge and lay each one between two pieces of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin the flatten the dough very thin (around ⅛”) and at least 11″ long. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap and after brushing with a little water, place one to the checkerboard stacks down on one end of the dough. Use a knife to trim the thin dough into a long rectangle and then brush the other sides of the checkerboard stack with a little water like before. Carefully roll the stack over, surrounding it with the thin piece of cookie dough until completely surrounded. Trim off the end, wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for another hour to firm up. Repeat this process for both checkerboard stacks.
9) Preheat the oven to 350°F and take your wrapped cookie dough stacks out of the fridge. Use a sharp knife to cut them into ¼” slices and arrange them on a lined cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Once they’re done, remove the cookies to a cooling rack and sprinkle with a pinch of salt!
Hey! Thanks for reading all the the way to the end! You’re awesome :D! If you haven’t already and are looking for more nerdy food stuff, consider following me on Twitter, Facebook, tumblr and Instagram. I post a lot of work in progress pictures for the blog as well as stuff from my Twitch streams. If that sounds like something you’d be into, please check out those links above! Anyway, take care everyone and I’ll see you next time with an all-new recipe!