I was fortunate enough to grow up half a mile from my maternal grandparents, and we saw them almost every day. My grandma was a retired art and English teacher and,not only do I look almost exactly like her, my mom says my personality and creativity mimic hers, as well. I was the first grandchild, and a girl, and I “might” have been the tiniest bit spoiled by her. What’s not to love about that?
Anyway, I often spent the night at her house, and she almost always had some fun craft or cooking project for us to do. She loved owls, and had various owl-related things in her house. At Halloween, we always made Owl Cookies, which I thought were just the coolest things ever. Now I like making them with my little hooligans, and forcing them to listen to stories of my childhood.
Slice-n-Bake Owl Cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
- About 36 whole almonds or cashews, for the beaks
- In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter pieces in 2 additions, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and pulse until the dough holds together. Divide the dough in half. Transfer one-half to a lightly floured work surface and knead in the cocoa until incorporated.
- Lightly dust the work surface and a rolling pin with flour. Roll out each dough half into a 12” square; trim the edges to even out. Place each square on a large baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Quickly invert the chocolate onto the vanilla dough. Roll from each side to the center, making two rolls joined by a flat middle. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough roll from the refrigerator, unwrap and cut crosswise into slices 1/4 inch thick. Place them 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Press an almond (or cashew) between the “eyes” to form a beak. Bake until the cookies feel firm when lightly pressed, about 15 minutes. Let the cookies sit on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.