Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Treats

My mother made owl cookies every Halloween when I was growing up. Charming and delicious, they were always a hit with my friends. The dough is a basic refrigerator-cookie dough that is made ahead of time and can also be frozen. Children love to assemble and decorate these cookies, which features chocolate chips for eyes and a giant salted cashew for a nose to make up the perfect owl face.

owl cookies

This recipe makes a good-sized batch of large cookies for Halloween school parties or Halloween parties at home.

owl cookiesowl cookies


3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, melted

Semisweet chocolate chips
About 18 whole roasted and salted cashews (or candy corn, if nut allergies are a concern)

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft. Continuing to beat, add the sugar slowly, then beat until the mixture is very light and fluffy. Mix in the dry ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs and vanilla, then add them to the dough a little at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Transfer about one-third of the dough to a separate bowl and stir in the melted chocolate chips to make a chocolate dough. Shape the chocolate dough into a 10-inch-long log, working very quickly before the chocolate solidifies. Wrap in wax paper and put in the refrigerator.
  5. Roll out the remaining (vanilla) dough into a long rectangular shape as long as the chocolate log. Set the chilled chocolate log in the center of the vanilla rectangle and wrap it up so that a cross-section resembles a bullseye, with a vanilla out layer and a chocolate center. Wrap the log in wax paper and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. (You can also freeze the dough for up to a month.)
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter 2 baking sheets. Place the chocolate chips and cashews in small bowls for easy access.
  7. Unwrap the logs and cut them into 1/8-inch slices. Join the two slices together by placing them side by side on a baking sheet and pinching them. Slightly pinch the two opposite sides of the rounds into pointy ear shapes. Place a chocolate chip upside down in the center of each chocolate eye, then embed a cashew into the center of the two joined circles. Repeat with the remaining slices, spacing the owls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes, watching closely, until lightly browned. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Store the cookies in a large tin, with the layers separated by sheets of wax paper. Keep the tin in a cool place until Halloween, or freeze the cookies ahead of time. Be careful not to fill the tin too full to avoid breaking the two halves apart.
  10. Serve on a shiny black cake pedestal for a very spooky effect.
The owl cookies display on served on the Rococo Noir pedestals with the Dauphine candlesticks.



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