Tuesday, October 2, 2012

And Tango Makes Three: Penguin Cookies

Penguin love story!

And Tango Makes Three is our third spotlight for Banned Books Week, and one of my favorites.  This picture book has been on the list of ALA's most banned books every year since its publication in 2005.  Who wouldn't love a true-life love story starring penguins?  Well, this one is controversial because it's about two male penguins.

Roy and Silo lived in the Central Park zoo with lots of other penguins.  They were the best of friends, and did everything together.  They walked together, swam together, and sang to each other.  "Wherever Roy went, Silo went too."  They even built a nest together, and did their best to hatch a stone.  Their zookeeper, Mr. Gramzay, had noticed Roy and Silo together, and brought them an egg that another penguin couple couldn't care for.  This egg, which Roy and Silo took great care sitting on, eventually hatched into a beautiful, healthy baby girl penguin, which Mr. Gramzay named Tango ("because it makes two to make a tango").

Roy and Silo gave her everything she needed.  They fed her, cuddled her, and taught her to swim.  "Tango was the very first penguin in the zoo to have two daddies," the book tells us.  She was special, in that regard, but her little family was still very much like all the other penguin families in the zoo.

So, no.  This isn't the most exciting story ever told.  But it is a really adorable little love story, perfectly suitable for a conversation about adoption.  And with all the anger and controversy over this book, I had to make something super special for Banned Book Week.

And Tango Makes Three Penguin Cookies

You will need:
- Your favorite sugar cookie dough (I used the Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix that comes in a pouch.  It is delicious and very, very easy.)  Given the option, use dough for rolling out and cutting shapes out of instead of dough for drop cookies.
- Food coloring

This is a little confusing to write out, so I have taken photos of each step.  Are you ready?  Here we go!

1) Prepare your cookie dough according to package directions.  Using food coloring, dye 1/3 of the dough blue, and half of the remaining dough orange.

2) Make one large and two medium balls out of the blue dough, one medium ball out of the un-dyed dough, and three small balls out of the orange dough.  It should look like this:

3) Smush flat the large blue dough ball, the un-dyed dough ball, and two of the orange dough balls.  Make flat teardrops of the remaining blue dough, and a triangle of the remaining orange.  It should look like this:
(HINT: If your dough is too sticky, you might have to stick it in the fridge for a few minutes.  Likewise, if the dough is sticking to your fingers a lot, you can wet them with a wet paper towel you have off to the side, and this will help a lot.)

4) Stack the un-dyed ball on top of the large blue dough ball, toward the bottom.  This will be the penguin's tummy.  Place one of the blue teardrops on each side of the un-dyed ball to make wings.  The orange triangle should overlap the blue and white to make a beak.  The remaining orange dough is the penguin's feet.  Assembled, it should look like this:

5) Bake according to recipe directions (in my case, 375 for 8 minutes).  Remember, these cookies are rather large and thicker than most, so they may take a little bit longer.  I got only 9 penguins out of my dough, with a few small discs of various colors left over.

6) Let these cool before trying to remove them from cookie sheets, or you risk breaking off (or squishing) the penguins' feet.

I got the design for these from the Better Homes and Gardens Special Publications: Christmas Cookies magazine from Christmas 2012.  Their penguins were black, but black food coloring stains everything, so I went with blue, which seemed like more of a penguin color than brown.  Their's also had eyes, which I didn't put on for the sake of simplicity.  And the BHG ones were peppermint, where mine were just sugar cookies. Maybe next time I make them, I will make them peppermint penguins, as suggested.

So, what do you think?  Will you be making Tango penguin cookies any time soon?


  1. I love these!!!!!!! I have heard of this story but never read it...but these penguin cookies are so cute, and they seem SO easy to make! :-)

    1. Thank you! They were really easy to make (especially with a dough mix), but they look super cute when they're done, so I was happy. :)

  2. A lovely, well written, positive, children's story about two male penguins who fall in love, are given an egg to hatch and do a a great job of being parents.

    It nearly made me cry.