Thursday, October 27, 2011
Rather than make a sugar cookie, I used Ina Garten's indefatigable shortbread cookie recipe. I have used it to make all manner of cookies and when the dough is chilled it keeps a clean edge (the better to showcase cookie design- nothing sadder than painstakingly cutting out cookies only to have them bake and spread into unidentifiable blobs.) To echo the almond feathers, I added almond extract in place of the traditional vanilla.
The icing is my old standby of powdered sugar, a smidgen of milk and assorted food colorings. I repeated the almond flavoring with a drop (and I literally mean a drop) of almond extract. The eyes are small dots of melted chocolate, the nose a trimmed up piece of candy corn.
I don't know what else to say except that in addition to be ridiculously adorable, these cookies are quite tasty. I consider this a triumph as so often overly decorated things look lovely, but end up tasting awful. (Even as a child I felt this way about decorating Christmas cookies- I knew that rows of red hots gave a gingerbread candy cane it's trademark stripes, but I also knew I would never want to eat a row after row of red hots.)
3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (here is where I substituted almond)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1) Preheat the oven to 350. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla.
2) In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
3) Roll the dough 1/2 inch thick and cut with a 3 inch cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (I think the owls took a little less time, keep an eye on them) until the edges begin to brown.
4) Allow to cool to room temperature.
5) Lay a light glaze of icing on the owl cookie base.