The story of weasel cookies…

Trees

Everyone knows about Christmas cookies, but did you know about weasel cookies?  When Margaret was young, she and her friend Laura would get together every year a week or two before Christmas to make and decorate Christmas cookies.  They really got into the decorating.  It may have had something to do with Margaret’s artistic spirit, but the two of them always loved projects.  They made their fair share of beautiful cookies, but also, being young girls, generally made a plate or two of what they called “sickening cookies”.

sickening cookies

That is, the cookies that are so covered in frosting and sprinkles that the thought of eating them makes you sick to your stomach.  So, one year when they were decorating cookies they came across a cookie shape that they could not identify (I think we figured out eventually that it was meant to be a turtle…but maybe was a little bent out of shape).  They decided it was a weasel shaped cookie, and proceeded to make an entire tray of weasel cookies.  Ever since then, we have celebrated ‘weasel day’ as the day that we make and decorate rolled cookies, a week or two before Christmas.  We actually have a properly shaped weasel cookie cutter now.  We have also gained a collection of other strange and interesting shaped cookie cutters.  It usually takes at least several hours to decorate.  In case you weren’t aware, Weasel Day is December 15th.

Meg and B, intently decorating

We don’t always decorate on exactly that date.  This year it was the 20th.  But that’s ok, because then that day is “Weasel Day, observed”.  Below is the “official” recipe for weasel cookies.  There is still much debate about the best frosting to use, although it should be some variation of royal icing, maybe with a little butter added.  This year’s version was a stick of butter, about 2/3 a bag of powdered sugar, with a little lemon juice and a little milk for texture.

Rolled Weasel Cookies

1/2 to 3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

The amount of butter used depends upon how rich you wish to make the cookies.  For chewy cookies, use 1/2 cup butter and up to 1 1/2 cups sugar.

cutting cookies

Cream the butter and cream in the sugar until fluffy, then beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Or use 1/2 vanilla and 1/2 another flavoring, such as almond.  Add the flour sifted with baking powder and salt.  Blend well.  Chill the dough for easier handling.  Use 1/2 of the dough at a time for rolling and cutting. Roll with a floured pin on a lightly floured board or between two sheets of waxed paper.  The thickness of the dough will depend upon your taste.  For crisp cookies, roll very thin.  If using wax paper, peel it off the top of the rolled cookie dough, flop the dough over onto a lightly floured board and peel off the other sheet.

cookies (note the weasel, upper left)

Cut the cookies with a floured cutter.  Lift with spatula onto a lightly oiled baking sheet or pan.

Allow about 1 inch between them for expansion.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until very lightly browned around the edges.  Loosen from the pan while still quite warm.  Cool on a rack.  Makes about 4 dozen weasels.

getting creative (the penguin is a pear shaped cutter)

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