If we're going to have six more weeks of winter, you may as well hunker down and have some good dessert, right?
Well, you are in luck! Chef Anne Quinn Corr joined Sarah in the State College kitchen, to teach her how to make Spicy Groundhog Cookies, and then turn those cookies into a kid-friendly, edible craft!
This recipe is a part of her cookbook, "Seasons of Central Pennsylvania."
Elaine Light's Spicy Groundhog Cookies
On my first magical trip to Punxsey I walked around town after the breakfast and looked at the ice sculptures outside the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Academy of Culinary Arts. The student were handing out these little cookies shaped like groundhogs and they were excellent! Subsequent trips, however, have failed to track any of these down. There are plenty of groundhog-shaped cookies, but they are of the supermarket quality--thick, pale and overly sweet. Elaine Light developed the recipe for her cookbook after a dozen attempts. She recently gave me her tips for success with these cookies: be sure to use a dark molasses for the dough; chill the dough overnight before rolling out; roll the dough out over saran wrap (or on a pastry cloth). These cookies are distinctive and well worth the effort to make them.
Makes 3 to 4 dozen small groundhog cookies or 12 to 15 large ones
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoons cinnamon
cup soft butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 egg, slightly beaten
Sift the flour, salt, soda, baking powder and spices together. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Blend in molasses and egg yolk. Stir in flour mixture and mix well.
Form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper. Chill for one hour or longer.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper, or spraying them with cooking spray, or greasing them. Roll out a small amount at a time on saran wrap or a pastry cloth to a thickness if 1/8 inch. Cut out the cookies with a lightly floured cookie cutter, groundhog shaped, if possible. Place the cookies on prepared baking sheets. Brush with the lightly beaten egg. Decorate with a currant for an eye, buttons, etc. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Cool slightly before removing from the baking sheet.
For a dessert in the spirit of the holiday, buy vanilla ice cream in a round quart container. Cut the container along the side and slice a round disk of ice cream and put it on a serving plate to suggest the frozen landscape at Gobbler's Knob. Place a cookie on the ice cream and drizzle chocolate sauce behind it to suggest a shadow.
Don't forget to brush the cookies with egg wash. The finished product has a wrinkled, furry appearance when you do this. If you forget, the cookies stay smooth and do not look as interesting. Experiment with leaving a couple unbrushed to see the difference.
Groundhog cutters can be purchased from the Easter Seal Society in Punxsutawney