Since I’ve started posting recipes from time to time, I would be remiss to leave out the famous family OWL COOKIES that I’ve had every Halloween since, like, forever. (Seriously, if you search for “owl cookie” on this blog, you’ll find them mentioned every October.) I’ve seen other versions, but nothing quite the same. And these are, of course, the best.
They’re not much more difficult than any other cookie. You mix everything together, including big glops of peanut butter because hey, these are peanut butter cookies! Other versions just use sugar cookie dough, which I suppose would work just as well. But who doesn’t like peanut butter?
This is the only part that’s slightly difficult. First you separate the dough into two equal parts, and dump some Nestle Quik (or cocoa) into one half. Mix it in really well so that half your dough is now darker than the other half.
Then you take the darker dough and throw it on the counter. (I sprinkle the counter with flour so it doesn’t stick.) I use my hands to smash the dough down flat. I suppose you could use a rolling pin…but I don’t have a rolling pin.
Shape the darker dough into a rough square. When that’s done, get the other half of the dough and throw it on the counter too. Use your hands to roll it into a long tube.
And here’s the only tricky part — you have to roll the lighter dough up inside the darker dough. It’s tricky mainly because it’s soft and squishy. Make sure you remember to pinch the seam together after you’ve finished rolling things up.
I always wrap the roll in aluminum foil and put it in the fridge for a while — or even overnight. The dough hardens up, which makes it a lot easier to slice when it’s time to actually bake the cookies.
From here on out, it’s easy. Slice off pieces of dough, maybe a quarter inch thick, and put them on a pan.
Now pinch the top of each slide to form two little owl ears. This is essential! Once I forgot to pinch a pan full of cookies and they just weren’t quite the same without ears.
Add chocolate chips for eyes and a cashew nut for the beak. You have to make sure to get WHOLE cashews, not the “halves and pieces” can. You also have to make sure to not eat the entire can of cashews before you finish the cookies. Same goes for the chocolate chips. (Mmm, cashews and chocolate chips.)
Bake them for a while and voila! Owl cookies! Then post a picture on Facebook which will result in people marching into your office the next morning before they even go to their own desk, just so they can get a cookie.
Here’s the full recipe. This makes 1 roll of dough, which makes 24-30 cookies. I usually run through the recipe twice to get 2 batches of dough, add the Quik to one batch, then divide each batch in half and make two rolls. I suppose I could also just double the recipe from the beginning, but I’m not sure the bowl would be big enough for all that dough.
2/3 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 tbsp Nestle Quik
Blend together shortening and brown sugar until creamy. Add egg, vanilla and peanut butter and blend thoroughly. Sift together, flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture; blend well.
Divide dough in half. Shape one half to form a roll 8 inches long. Add Quik to remaining half of dough. Flatten chocolatey dough to form an 8-inch square. Place the 8-inch roll on top of the chocolate square. Wrap the roll in the chocolate dough. Pat seams and ends to make an even roll. Wrap in waxed paper and chill for at least 1 hour.
Cut dough into slices. For each cookie, pinch chocolate part to form two ears; use two chocolate bits for eyes and one nut for a beak. Repeat to shape all cookies, and place them on ungreased cookie sheets.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheets for 12 minutes or until set around the edges.