Nyan Cat! (Cookies)

by Jennifer on March 5, 2012

in Internet Meme Desserts, Sugar Cookies

This cookie represents my deep-seated insanity…I’ll explain in a minute.

One day, during my time-wasting online browsing, I came across a tutorial on how to make “pixel cookies,” which are cookies that achieve the look of older video games and other pixelated visuals using many, small strips of dough. People have made Pacman cookies, Mario cookies, and more. While not as pretty or fancy as decorated sugar cookies, I LOVED the effect. I don’t think you could create the same look with royal icing – it is possible, but it definitely wouldn’t look as authentic. So, I decided I had to make them. But, what to replicate? It was hard to choose – I had played my fair share of old school Nintendo – but I decided to do something a bit more modern…

Nyan cat! A strange phenomenon for sure, like the Hamster Dance from way back in the day. It is cute, funny, random, and awesome – the perfect combination for an internet meme.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t realize how complicated the Nyan cat design would be.

I started by printing a picture of Nyan cat…

And then I used a ruler to mark the pixels (there is probably a more sophisticated way to do this, but I like working with paper).

Ok, so that wasn’t too bad. The image is 34 pixels by 22 pixels…which is…which is…

748.

Seven hundred and fourty-eight little strips of dough. At this point, I questioned my sanity. I asked my husband for advice and, as always, promptly decided to do the opposite thing. I was already invested in this – I wasn’t going to back down because it would be hard…and take forever…for very few actual cookies…that would be humongeous. Ok, maybe I really wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. So, I forged ahead.

First, I made 3 batches of dough. To figure out how much of the dough should be dyed a certain color, I took 5 ounces of dough and used the handy Playdough Fun Factory to figure out how many strips it would make.

Detour – Easy peasy directions for using the Fun Factory:

1. Obtain a Fun Factory (I ordered mine from Amazon).

2. Use the template thingy to choose the section with the four square holes.

3. Put the dough in and press down on the lever.

Tada! Now repeat…187 times.

Back to business – I figured out that 5 ounces of dough made about 50 strips. This will vary for you, of course, depending on the recipe you are using, length of the strips, etc. So, make sure you do this step!

Once I knew how many strips I could make from a certain amount of dough, I could take the total number of strips needed of a certain color, divided by 50 (for me), and then multiply that number times 5 (representing 5 ounces of dough). It is much more complicated than it sounds!

I then dyed the dough and starting making strips.

I did this over several nights, so it never seemed that bad. It actually went much quicker than I thought it would.

Once the strips were done – it was time for the assembly!

Using my original template as a guide, I simply recreated the image with the strips. I counted how many strips of dough of each color were needed per row and put it together accordingly. Make sure your dough is chilled – this would probably be impossible with warm dough!

Here I am about halfway done:

The ends will look hideous – don’t worry! You will be cutting them off anyway.

Finally – I was finished!

I let it chill overnight before cutting. Important tips:

  • Use a very sharp knife (and also be careful with said knife!)
  • The dough needs to be very cold. Otherwise the act of cutting it with a knife will distort the pixel-y look you’re going for.
  • Cut the dough in one fluid motion, if you can…or else you might get this:

I just used this end as the bottom of one of the cookies. After struggling with the first cut, my genius my husband had a wonderful idea:

Turn it on it’s side! This allowed him to cut the cookies putting pressure on both ends of the knife in a smooth, downward motion. I was the cookie catcher, making sure that the cookies didn’t break or fall over as he cut. It worked nicely and the cookies looked like this:

I loved it! So pixel-y, so awesome. I noticed a couple little issues, but on the whole, I was super pleased with them.

Now, onto the cooking part…I was concerned about how to bake such a large cookie. My results weren’t perfect, but here is what I did:

For the recipe I used for the dough, I decreased the baking temperature by 25 degrees. The recipe stated that the cookies should bake for about 12 minutes, so I set a timer for 15 minutes. After that, I checked them every 3 minutes for doneness. At one point, I tented the edges of the cookies to prevent burning:

I ended up baking mine for about 26 minutes, but this will totally depend on the size and thickness of your cookies. I recommend checking every couple of minutes while baking.

You can see that it still got a little dark around the edges, but considering how big these suckers are, I thought that was pretty good! I’m not sure how to prevent the “curling” around the edges either – if you’re dealing with smaller cookies, I don’t think it would be much of a problem. Despite the flaws – I still love them!

How could you not love that sweet face?

Leave a Comment

{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

1 branny March 5, 2012 at 6:50 am

Wow!

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2 Jennifer March 5, 2012 at 7:09 am

Thank you! :)

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3 Hezzi-D March 5, 2012 at 6:59 am

WOW. I would never have the patience to do this but these are super cute! I didn’t even think they were cookies. You did an amazing job.

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4 Jennifer March 5, 2012 at 7:10 am

Thank you, Hezzi-D! It was a lot of work, but I really am so happy with how they came out! Not as pretty as regular sugar cookies, but cool nonetheless.

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5 Melissa March 5, 2012 at 10:39 am

I admire your patience :) I wouldn’t let anyone eat them after all that work! lol They look awesome!

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6 Jennifer March 5, 2012 at 10:41 am

My husband started munching on them shortly after the pictures were taken…he’s like a vulture! Circling and waiting :)

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7 Jessica March 5, 2012 at 11:36 am

Those are amazing!! I can’t even fathom the patience you must have.

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8 Jennifer March 5, 2012 at 11:40 am

Assembly wasn’t too bad, but watching trashy TV while making the dough strips helped considerably :)

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9 Karin March 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm

You are amazing. Enough said.

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10 Jennifer March 5, 2012 at 3:30 pm

You made my day :) Thank you!

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11 Eva @ Eva Bakes March 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Wow – those cookies are amazing!

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12 Jennifer March 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Thanks so much, Eve!

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13 Nadira March 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm

<3 NYAN CAT! AWESOME JOB! GONNA TALK MY MOM INTO DOING A SMALLER VERSION! <3

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14 Jennifer March 5, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Thank you! They are so fun to make :)

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15 DaisyD March 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm

God I just DO not have enough words to describe how utterly amazing I find these!! *-* I wish I had the patience and the talent to do something this awesome! :)
Huge thumbs up to you, they look just Perfect!

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16 Jennifer March 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Thank you so much! :)

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17 Bridget March 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm

I think they look awesome, definitely not too brown or too curled. But holy crap – 748 strips! I totally want to do this, but I want to do the simplest possible version. :)

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18 Jennifer March 5, 2012 at 7:02 pm

There are tons of less complicated versions out there that look great! There is a Flickr group for them with lots of wonderful ideas (http://www.flickr.com/groups/660246@N23/).

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19 Bridget March 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Thanks! I’m excited that there’s a megaman option with just his face. I was thinking that would be a fun one, but his whole body would have been 550 pixels. I love so many of those ideas.

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20 Jennifer March 5, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I know! People have come up with so many wonderful, creative ideas! :)

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21 Tonya March 5, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Holy cow, those look amazing! You are my hero :)

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22 Jennifer March 6, 2012 at 6:53 am

Thank you very much, Tonya! I just have way too much time on my hands ;)

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23 C&C Cakery March 5, 2012 at 11:34 pm

O. M. G. I was excited when you told my about your version of the nyan cookie – but now I’m absolutely flabbergasted. You, my friend, are my mega cookie nerd superior.

And thank you for posting the instructables link – I can’t wait to make a pixel cookie of my own! I’ll probably start small though – your cookies are a lot to live up to!

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24 Jennifer March 6, 2012 at 6:52 am

Haha – I love it – “mega cookie nerd superior.” That is totally going on my business cards!

Thanks so much for the kind words; I hope you have a great time making pixel cookies of your own!

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25 Carl Peto March 6, 2012 at 3:52 am

Totally awesome. My girlfriend and I live on Camden Lock in London, with our two lovely kittens and we all four *love* Nyan Cat. Fi loves baking. She says you are totally awesome!!

C

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26 Jennifer March 6, 2012 at 6:50 am

Thanks so much, Carl! Who doesn’t love Nyan Cat?! :)

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27 carolyn woods March 6, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Wow. What an amazing job you did. You’re hard work and patience totally paid off. I’m very wow’d by this! :)

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28 Jennifer March 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Thanks so much, Carolyn! It was a labor of love :)

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29 Norma March 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm

WOWWW !!!
don´t have words…

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30 Jennifer March 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm
31 kim March 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm

That is amazing, you rock!

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32 Jennifer March 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Thank you, Kim!

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33 Sharon Thurston March 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Well, other folks here said it too but wow, these are really original

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34 Jennifer March 9, 2012 at 6:48 am

Thank you, Sharon!

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35 Lizy B March 15, 2012 at 10:38 am

Holy Cannoli!! That’s amazing!! Still trying to wrap my brain around this!! Fabulous……FABULOUS….job!

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36 Jennifer March 15, 2012 at 10:57 am

Aww, thanks so much Lizy!! You made my day :)

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37 Rebecca @ My Girlish Whims March 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Your cookies are amazing! This one just blew my mind haha! I featured your Hunger Games cookies on my blog tonigh! :)

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38 Jennifer March 28, 2012 at 6:53 am

Thank you so much, Rebecca! I’m a new follower of your blog :)

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39 Leah March 31, 2012 at 1:41 am

Well, I’m back. And I just have a question for you. What should I make!! I want to definitely make the pixel cookies, but I don’t know what the picture to be of. I don’t want to go to the nyan cat immediately because I want to start out with something a little more simple. I just need something simple yet cute and modern that I can do a little more time efficiently. Just reply if you have any ideas! Trust me- I’m stuck also!

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40 Jennifer March 31, 2012 at 8:49 am

Hi Leah! Did you see the Flickr group for pixel cookies? http://www.flickr.com/groups/660246@N23/. There are tons of cute, simpler designs there to try! You could also try something from a favorite video game (anything with 8 bit pixels can be turned into a pixel cookie). Hope that helps!

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41 Wonderland Cookies April 6, 2012 at 10:13 pm

All I can say is ….wow!!!! These are incredible. I’ve even seen this quirky nyan cat video on you tube. I can’t believe you made a cookie with it! I’m so impressed!

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42 Jennifer April 6, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Thank you very much! It took a fair amount of patience, but I was so pleased with how they turned out :)

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43 Katie April 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Holy smokes.. just found you from the Friday link party over @ Bearfoot Baker.. this is absolutely incredible, I love it!

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44 Jennifer April 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Thank you, thank you Katie!

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45 Kayla April 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm

HOLY FREAKING COW!

I can’t even tell you how TOTALLY RAD AND AWESOME these are! I’m a gamer and my hubby works in IT. Needless to say we are internet nerds. THIS IS FREAKING AWESOME! I totally just called over my web design intern, the office assistant and everyone else in the hallway to look at these. SO FREAKING AWESOMEZ0RZ!

I cannot believe how square the pixels look! And the finished cookies look like something was printed on them, not like they are made from different doughs. You are a freaking genius.

I need need NEED you to link this up at my new linky party. Like- for realz….NEED. http://saynotsweetanne.com/2012/sweet-sharing-monday/

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46 Jennifer April 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Kayla – you made my day! Thank you for your super sweet comments. I’m totally linking up and following your blog! Thanks for the invite :)

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47 Kayla April 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Glad to have made your day- maybe I’ll make it again by saying I featured your cookie as my personal fave in the Sweet Sharing Monday wrap up! http://saynotsweetanne.com/2012/sweet-sharing-monday-wrap-up/

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48 Jennifer April 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Oh wow – thanks so much! You totally made my day again :)

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49 Geeky Hooker April 21, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Holy crap. Just fished through the rest of your blog, and you are INSANE for doing this pixel by pixel! And by insane, I mean ridiculously awesome. I crocheted a lil’ nyan cat for a friend a while back, but that doesn’t hold a candle to your cookie rendition! Mad props! http://www.flickr.com/photos/68151951@N08/6196453820/

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50 Jennifer April 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm

OMG -I love your crocheted Nyan cat! I remember your little knitted sigils; so awesome :)

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51 Kim April 21, 2012 at 8:51 pm

I love this idea! I can totally relate to how you wanted to finish it just to prove you could – I do that all the time when I see amazing cookies/cakes I just have to attempt. I think these are next on my list!

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52 Jennifer April 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Awesome, Kim! If you have any trouble, just drop me a line at jennifer@notyourmommascookie.com. I’m happy to help! :)

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53 Sherry May 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm

This is so awesome! Would love to do this with pixal pokemon :p

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54 Jennifer May 15, 2012 at 9:46 am

Glad you like them, Sherry!

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55 Jane May 21, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Oh! Please do more Meme cookies! You have a TRUE skill in persistence and patience. Pokemon is another one of my favorites. I can’t wait to see your new cookies. PS: Your cousin is rooting for you over on failblog.com super nice. :)

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56 Jennifer May 23, 2012 at 12:41 am

Hi Jane! Thanks so much for your message. I’m sure there will be more meme cookies in the future! I have so many cookies I would like to make :) And, I do have an awesome counsin :)

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57 thedietinggourmand May 23, 2012 at 9:51 pm

I’m a little Nyan obsessed and I can’t tell you how awesome these are!! They are so awesome I teared up a bit. Incredible work!

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58 Jennifer May 24, 2012 at 6:50 am

Awww, thank you so much! I’m so glad you like them :)

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59 Kate July 26, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Wow! This takes so much math!

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60 Jennifer July 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Once you get started, it isn’t too bad – and this is coming from an English who still counts on her fingers! Sad, but true :)

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61 Darren August 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Wow, I’m a guy but just one word for this.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E :D

Would it be possible to make one with bigger pixels ? :O

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62 Jennifer August 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm

So glad you like it, Darren!

I’m not sure if Playdough makes a bigger “fun factory” to create bigger strips of dough. The cookie is already pretty big though, so bigger pixels would be one huge cookie! Not that there is anything wrong with that :)

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63 Britt December 5, 2012 at 12:02 pm

OMG, these are so awesome! Think of all the possibilities (albeit A LOT of work)! My boyfriend is a gamer and I’m thinking the Minecraft possibilities with this technique are endless. Or, from our new favorite movie, Wreck-It Ralph cookies!! Ok, maybe I’m alone on that one, but still. SO. MUCH. AWESOME.

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64 Jennifer December 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm

It’s so funny that you just commented on these – I was checking out your Minecraft cake using a pixel template and spray color – genius!!! MUCH easier than the pixel dough method and so many fun ways to apply it!

My husband is a bit of a gamer too – he LOVED Wreck-It Ralph, of course :) I’ve been dying to make some Scott Pilgrim treats, but my baking schedule is jammed pack until the new year! I’ll definitely tackle that one soon!

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65 Liz December 30, 2012 at 9:38 am

You, my dear, are OFFICIALLY my cookie idol. Holy COW these are spectacular!!

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66 Jennifer December 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Awww, thank you, Liz! I’m so glad you like them :)

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67 Romina January 23, 2013 at 12:45 am

How did you make the white in the eyes?

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68 Jennifer January 23, 2013 at 7:28 am

Hi Romina! I used white food coloring, like this one. Hope that helps!

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69 Ellen January 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Wow that is really cool might try it one day

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70 Jennifer January 23, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Thanks, Ellen!

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71 tally January 26, 2013 at 11:25 am

so cute i made one a long time ago it was finn and jake from “adventure time”

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72 Jennifer January 26, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Awesome, Tally! :)

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73 lachlan January 31, 2013 at 1:23 am

this looked so good that i tried to do it well lets just say that when i had gone to finish it by cutting it up some of it fell apart and i have no idea if it tasted good because after i cocked it my brother ate all of it after i told him he wasn’t allowed any… to bad mine didn’t turn out as good

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74 Jennifer January 31, 2013 at 8:31 am

Hello – I’m sorry you had trouble (and a sneaky brother!). The dough has to be very cold to cut it, or there is the possibility of crumbling.

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75 Kristen @ justicedcookies February 7, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Um…uh…UHHHMMMMM
{aka – I’m completely speechless and HOLY SCHNIKIES!}

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76 Jennifer February 7, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Haha – thanks, Kristen! :)

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77 Kristina February 8, 2013 at 8:05 am

WOW!! As a child of the 80′s early 90′s I salut you!!

This is truely amazing and I am much more impressed than I am of most royal icing work. I totally love it and some day I might even give it a try myself. You are a genius!!

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78 Jennifer February 8, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Aww – thank so much, Kristina! I started decorating cookies only about a year ago – it is amazing how far you can come in just a year! :)

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79 Keyli Pegg February 19, 2013 at 10:56 pm

I want to eat them straight off the page. They look so delicioso!

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80 Jennifer February 19, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Thanks, Keyli! :)

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81 fionna February 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm

i love nyancat

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82 Jennifer February 21, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Me too!

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83 Chloe April 2, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Hey jenifer i love these cookies if you get on youtube ande look up nerdy nummies ro talks about and will make cookies like this but tetris and ihas cupquake does to

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84 Jennifer April 3, 2013 at 7:54 am

Hi Chloe! Yes, I saw that Ro posted my cookies- I couldn’t believe it! :) Her Tetris cookies are awesome!

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85 Lew April 2, 2013 at 4:55 pm

O… M… G… ! This is SO awesome!! :D

But how do you clean the Fun Factory? Just run hot water through it or what? Because next time you want to do pixel cookies, you do not want old dough sticking to your new cookies, right? ;)

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86 Jennifer April 2, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Thanks, Lew! I soaked it in hot water and it cleaned up very easily! :)

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87 michelle April 7, 2013 at 6:19 pm

wow just wow, i’m in awe!!! (love nyan cat too :)

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88 Jennifer April 8, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Thanks, Michelle! It was a labor of love, that’s for sure :)

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89 Jenn @ Once Upon a Tier April 13, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Wow, that’s a labor of love! So amazing!

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90 Jennifer April 16, 2013 at 9:56 am

Thank you, Jenn! :)

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91 hallie April 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

i love this so much it is so cool

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92 Jennifer April 18, 2013 at 10:53 am

Thanks, Hallie!

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93 Sorrel Gillard April 29, 2013 at 1:07 am

So very cute, i dont think i could handle doing that!

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94 Jennifer April 29, 2013 at 9:37 am

Thanks, Sorrel! It just took a lot of patience :)

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95 Emily June 22, 2013 at 9:06 am

I looooove this cookie!!!!! I want to try making it, do u still have the plan? Eg how many strips in each color?

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96 Jennifer June 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Hi Emily! I’m sorry, I don’t have the original document. Depending on the image you choose to use, it may not have the same number of pixels as my cookie anyway! :)

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97 Lizzy July 7, 2013 at 12:46 am

Wow, I love this idea! Although the grey bits turned out purple, I reckon you did FABULOUS!! Well, if you would allow me to borrow this idea, I would be sure to make this a FAMOUS recipe!

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98 Janine December 3, 2013 at 5:09 am

These cookies are awesome!!
I’m going to try some for my dad, but not with Nyan Cat on it.
He loves Link from Zelda!!
BUT, you are the only one who took more pictures than from the painting of the beginning and from the done Cookie!
You ROCK!

I hope my cookies get as perfect as yours!

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99 Jennifer December 3, 2013 at 5:20 am

Hope it is a success, Janine! It’s time-consuming for sure, but the results are so fun!

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