Another Halloween recipe today – I am on FIRE with these posts this weekend! – simply the cutest-looking owl biscuits. I’m baking them for my daughter’s class at school. They are SO my style – pure, natural ingredients and the biscuit IS the decoration, and vice versa. I adore how the slightest variation in the different coloured doughs and the shape and size of the nuts gives each little owl face it’s own expression and character!
All credit for these biscuits goes to Natalie Neal Whitefield (née Riggin) who, at the tender age of 15, won the second Grand Prize and $10,000 in the Pillsbury’s 8th Grand National Bake-Off back in 1956. Nancy is all growed up now and has her own blog, if you’d like to swing by and say Howdy. The only change I’ve made is to convert the quantities into metric.
Natalie’s Original Halloween Hoot Owl Cookies
2nd Grand Prize Winner in the Pillsbury Bake-off®, many, many years ago…
Makes 30-40 biscuits
275g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
170g unsalted butter
200g light muscovado sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp Vanilla extract
50g plain (70%) chocolate
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Plain chocolate chips
Whole cashew nuts
- Sieve flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, cream the butter, add the sugar and cream again
- Whisk the egg and the vanilla together and then add to the sugar mixture and beat well.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, then set aside to cool.
- Add dry ingredients to the egg/butter mixture and mix well to form a ball of very soft dough.
- Take 2/3 of the dough (about 480g) and set aside.
- Mix the bicarb into the chocolate and mix the chocolate into the dough left in the bowl.
- Wrap the chocolate dough in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Divide the remaining dough in half and roll each piece out into a rectangle 10cm x 25cm. Wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Divide the chocolate dough in half and form each piece into a roll the same length as the light coloured dough.
- Wrap the light dough around the dark, smoothing the dough edges together.
- Wrap in plastic and chill for 2-3 hours until firm.
- Unwrap the rolls of dough and cut them into slices about 3-5mm thick.
- Lay two slices together on greased baking sheet or on a parchment-line baking sheet and press together to resemble an owl’s face.
- Pinch the outside corners of each slice to form ears.
- Put chocolate chips, upside-down, in the dark circles to make eyes.
- Press a whole cashew nut with the pointed side down between the slices to form the beak.
- Bake at 180°C, 160°C Fan for 8 to 12 minutes, until the edges of the biscuits start to brown
- Remove the biscuits from the baking sheets with a slice (they are very soft when warm) and cool on wire racks.
Cost: £1.80 (October 2011)