Squirrel Sandwich Cookies
Mmmm… squirrel sandwiches.
Not this kind of squirrel sandwich:
Last winter, I got a set of cookie cutters that included a squirrel. The SPCA (the local animal shelter) was holding a bake sale, and I used that as an excuse for a bake-fest and to try out my new cutters. I didn’t have the patience/time to decorate the animals with royal icing so I came up with the genius (in my humble opinion!) idea of making them into sandwich cookies. That way you get to enjoy both the shape and some tasty filling (royal icing doesn’t taste very good, in comparison), plus they are fairly quick to decorate and easily packable when they are done. I dropped off my baking just as the sale was beginning and an older gentleman immediately offered to pay $50 for a plate of six squirrel sandwiches. Sold!
I actually never got to eat a finished cookie, as I had just the right amount for the sale. So I wanted to make them again. I didn’t recall the filling recipe I used at the time as anything particularly spectacular, so this time I decided to use the filling from one of my favourite cookies we used to make with my gramma when we were kids– whoopie pies. It is fluffy, creamy, and very tasty. (It’s also difficult to spread neatly, so fluffy goodness oozes out the edges!)
(adapted from Allrecipes, makes about 21 sandwiches)
1 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar or evaporated cane juice
1/2 brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 tablespoons boiling water
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
(adapted from the whoopie pie recipe in Cooking from Quilt Country)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
Place the flour in a small saucepan and slowly whisk in the milk, ensuring there are no lumps. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and bubbles in the centre. Continue to stir and simmer over low heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Place the butter in a medium mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until slightly softened. Add salt, vanilla, and 1 cup of the sugar, and beat in. Add the rest of the sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add the cooled milk mixture, one spoonful at a time, beating between additions. Beat on high speed for 1 minute. The filling should be smooth and fluffy. Place in refrigerator to firm up. You can make the filling while the cookie dough is chilling.
An oven thermometer is an extremely good investment, so you can carefully monitor the oven temperature between batches– 25 degrees too hot or too cool can make a big difference, especially with cookies that bake quickly! It will also tell you if you oven is properly preheated and if your oven is actually the temperature it claims to be.
And one more tip– those dough scraps I told you to stop rerolling. One of my resolutions is to waste less food, so I broke them up into more-or-less the same size (but crazily-shaped) pieces and baked them. My plan is to turn them into crumbs, freeze them, and use them to make a crust or topping for a future dessert. I admit it, I have thrown out cookie dough scraps in the past (I tend to get tired and a wee bit ill-feeling from eating too much raw dough!) but from now on I am going to be baking the scraps and repurposing them.
You would think with a kitchen full of freshly baked squirrels Chai would be interested in what I was up to, but this was his reaction:
What do you do with cookie dough scraps?
Or what’s your favourite way to eat squirrel? 😉
P.S. This was my 100th post!