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Cookies, Sweet Snacks

Chocolate Dipped Squirrels, with Harvest Nuts

I was in the mood to continue the “Harvest” trend here on this here website, but somehow, I am not overly pleased with these cookies. They taste really nice — chocolate-dipped chocolate sugar cookies, with just the right amount of toasted pecans, but somehow, these little squirrels don’t look right to me. Next time, maybe I’ll have the little critters holding a nut, and maybe even paint eyes on them. At any rate, still wanted to post them here. Enjoy.

Ingredients
for the cookies
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

for the glaze and decoration
4 ounces dark chocolate
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
4 tablespoons toasted pecans, finely chopped (any nut type will do)

You will also need: a squirrel-shaped cookie cutter

Directions
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.

In the work bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat.

Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut with a squirrel shaped cookie cutter, transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking.

Bake cookies for about 10 – 12 minutes (depending on size) or until they are firm around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

In a metal bowl set over a simmering pot of water, melt the chocolate and vegetable shortening. Line the counter or cookie sheets with wax paper, then dip the cookies half way in the melted chocolate. Top with nuts while the chocolate is still wet. Let set on the counter until completely hardened.

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