I know you know this is totally not me, but accept it: I’ve made something cute. I don’t usually care for the adorable side of the baking equation, I’m far too practical to paint faces on my desserts. Until now. I was pondering the crisp autumnal air and started imagining a forest scene: hedgehogs, owls, and squirrels partying together amidst burnished leaves on the woodland floor. And once the image took hold in my head, I thought it might be fun to make a cookie inspired by that fever dream.
These cookies are basically Mexican wedding cookies, with the pecans swapped for hazelnuts. This kind of dough is perfect for baking into shapes, it has no egg or leavening so it won’t rise, spread, or melt into an unexpected shape. Dip the cooled cookies in chocolate and decorate with toffee, sprinkles, or almonds, and you’re ready to go!
Yield 16 Cookies
⅓ cup butter, softened
¼ cup confectioners' sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
⅔ cup ground hazelnuts
½ cup milk chocolate chips
¼ cup crushed toffee candy
Preheat oven to 325°. In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, hazelnuts, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Shape 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball; pinch the dough to form a face. Repeat. Place 2 in. apart on a greased baking sheet.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
In a microwave, melt chocolate; stir until smooth. Holding a hedgehog cookie by the nose, dip the body into the melted chocolate (leave the face uncovered). Allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper; immediately sprinkle crushed toffee onto the wet chocolate to look like hedgehog spikes.
With a toothpick or paintbrush dipped in chocolate, make two eyes and a dot on the nose. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container.