They’re a hoot!

I spent Thanksgiving in Atlanta, soaking in the warm weather and enjoying the company of loved ones.  It was an absolutely beautiful day.  In fact, we ate Thanksgiving dinner outside on the patio.  How about that to be thankful for!

I wanted to contribute to the feast as well as give thanks to our hosts for putting Scott and I up for the weekend.  However, traveling from Minneapolis I had to careful to bring something that would survive the trip.  I scoured my old Bon Appetit and Cooking Light magazines, flipped through the cookbooks and cooking websites and stumbled upon a recipe for Apple Cranberry Tarts on a very cool cooking blog, The Craving Chronicles.  I did omit the caramel sauce, as I was worried that TSA might confiscate it, but I don’t think that the tarts were any less tasty because if it.

I also brought a batch of cookies that are very popular in my family this time of year.  Hoot owl cookies, as they are called, may be one of the cutest cookies in existence (and my photos will not do them justice).  The recipe originates from a cookie contest in the 1950’s and the winner, Natalie Riggin, was from my hometown of Olympia, Washington.  These cookies are made on an annual basis in my family and if forgotten, there is hell to pay.  Recently my mother gave my brother and I copies of her entire recipe collection (a great gift idea) and somehow the recipe had been left out (a mistake that both my brother and myself had noticed).  A phone call quickly rectified the situation and I whipped up a batch to share with my Atlanta hosts.

Hoot Owl Cookies
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup  butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

80 semisweet chocolate chips (about 1/3 cup)
40 whole cashews (about 2/3 cup)

Beat brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  On low speed, mix in flour, baking powder and salt.  Divide dough in thirds.  In small bowl work in chocolate and baking powder to 1/3 of the dough.

Using one portion of the light dough, press out to form a 10″ x 4″ inch strip.  Using 1/2 of the chocolate dough, roll a tube 10″ long and wrap light dough around the entire chocolate log.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Wrap in foil or plastic and refrigerate at least an hour (although in my family we put it in the freezer and sneak cuts of dough to snack on.  Very often we run out of dough before the cookies are baked).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut each roll into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices.  Place 2 slices, sides touching on cookie sheet.  Pinch the corners of the slices to for the ears.  Place a chocolate chip in the center of each slice for the eyes and finish with a whole cashew between the slices for the beak.  Each cookie is unique and has their own personality, which I find fantastic.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.

These cookies are pretty fragile so handle with care.  I was worried that my traveling would bump and break them, so I carefully wrapped them in plastic and packed them in tupperware.  Aside from a couple of casualties, they made it to Atlanta mostly in one piece and instantly got rave reviews and have since been gobbled all gone.


2 responses to “They’re a hoot!

  1. My mother, a home-ec major way back when, helped Natalie make these cookies for the Grand National Pillsbury competition, which she won 2nd place. I think it was 1956. I have the recipe book and make these often for Halloween. They are as tasty as they are cute!

  2. That is so cool! It’s just about that time of year that these cookies need to be made…

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