Wednesday, October 8, 2014

If it's October, it's time to make Hoot Owl Cookies

About this time of year I start seeing different versions of my prize-winning cookie recipe pop up on the internet, so if you also would like to share the recipe on your blog or website, simply give credit where credit is due, as Tori Avey has done:, and identify this cookie as the second grand prize winner in Pillsbury's 8th Grand National Bake-off®. For best results, please continue to use the original wholesome ingredients.

Hoot Owl Cookies


2 1/2  cups sifted Pillsbury® all purpose flour

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup of unsalted butter (1 and 1/2 sticks)

1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar

1 unbeaten egg

1 teaspoon of real vanilla

1 and 1/2 squares unsweetened dark baking chocolate

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Dark chocolate chips

Whole roasted cashew nuts (salted or unsalted, whichever you prefer)


* Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

* In a separate bowl, work the butter, gradually adding the sugar and creaming it well. Blend the egg and the vanilla into the sugar mixture and beat well.

* Melt the unsweetened chocolate in the top half of a double boiler. Remove the pan from over the hot water and set aside to cool.

* Add dry ingredients gradually into the egg/butter mixture and mix well to form a ball of dough.

* Remove 2/3 of the dough to a lightly floured board.

* Stir the 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda into the chocolate and blend chocolate mixture into the dough that remains in the bowl. Chill this chocolate dough in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.

* Roll out half of the light-colored dough on your board to a 10 x 4 inch strip.

* Shape 1/2 the dark dough into a roll 10 inches long; place the dark dough roll onto the strip of light dough. Mold the sides of the light dough around the dark; wrap this in aluminum foil and chill in the refrigerator.

* Repeat this process. Chill both rolls of dough about two hours.

* Remove aluminum foil and cut rolls into slices about 1/4 inch thick; place two slices together on greased baking sheet or on a parchment-lined baking sheet and press the slices together to resemble an owl’s face. Pinch the outside corners of each slice to form “ears”. Place chocolate chips, upside-down in the center of the dark circles to make "eyes"; press a whole cashew nut with the pointed side down between the slices to form the "beak".

* Bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for 8 to 12 minutes, just long enough for the cookie's light-colored rim to become slightly brown. Remove cookies from the baking sheets immediately and place on racks until completely cool. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

* Cookies can be wrapped, single layer style, in aluminum foil for storage.

Hoot Owl Cookies were created by Natalie Riggin, the first junior contestant ever to win a grand prize in the Pillsbury Grand National Bake-off® - Photo is from the personal archives of the author.