Here are my favorite holiday cookies. Not only my favorite; EVERYONE loves them. I got the recipe from a great book called “A Baker’s Field Guide To Christmas Cookies” by Dede Wilson.
Here’s the link to Dede’s blog:
The cookies are called “Night Before Christmas Mice”. I hope that Dede doesn’t mind me copying the recipe here on my blog. Everyone who loves this recipe should get a copy of Dede’s book – it’s really fantastic. And Dede, if you see this recipe here and you object, please let me know and I will remove it. 🙂
You need licorice laces for these cookies. I love this incredible store in the Lower East Side called Economy Candy. Talk about being a kid in the proverbial candy store!
Economy Candy had the licorice laces I wanted, as well as every other type of candy imaginable, and also the nuts and dried fruit that I needed for some other holiday goodies I planned on making.
Here’s their website:
On my way back from shopping, I encountered these jolly fellows!
Now I was REALLY in the Christmas spirit and ready for some cookie-making!
Cream the butter:
add almond extract:
and an egg:
after mixing, cover the dough and refrigerate:
Cut licorice into strips:
roll small balls of dough and shape into ovals, and pinch “eyes”:
add almond “ears”:
After baking, when cookies are still hot, insert “tails”:
melt chocolate and pipe on “eyes” and “noses”:
And step back and appreciate the cuteness of these cookies! And they taste as good as they look!
Here’s the recipe:
3 Cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg
licorice laces, cut into 3-inch lengths
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and warm
1. Whisk flour and salt together in a small bowl.
2. In a large bowl with electronic mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating about 3 more minutes. Beat in extract. Beat in the egg. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix on low speed. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing until just blended. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
4. Roll pieces of dough between your palms into 1-1/4 inch ovals. Slightly elongate one side to form nose. Gently pinch bridge of nose to form eye sockets. Place 2 sliced almonds behind eyes, to make ears. Place mice 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
5. Bake until light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Place pans on racks and immediately insert skewer into mouse’s rounded posterior, going in about 1/2 inch. Remove skewer and insert length of licorice for the tail. It will wedge in and adhere to the still-warm cookie. Pipe small chocolate eyes and nose in appropriate places. (I use a zip-top bag with tiny corner cut off as my piping bag.) Place sheet in refrigerator until the chocolate has firmed up.
This recipe makes about 40 mice, and they last about 2 weeks at room temperature in airtight containers. Store in single layers.