Saturday, October 26, 2013
Black Cat Cookies
Just in time for Halloween, allow me to introduce old-fashioned (c.1940) Black Cat Cookies.These very chocolate-y drop cookies are the canvas upon which one simply draws a cat face with orange icing (or so instructs the vintage recipe card). Today, there are all manner of Halloween treat recipes -- clever finger cookies, cupcakes decorated as ghoulish eyeballs and more. But, if you want to go old-school, then do try these. They are excellent cookies, soft and almost cake-like, beloved by all my tasters (including a server at a LES restaurant who, upon trying one of the cookies, asked where she could buy them!).
Halloween is almost here, so it's time to start the batter. The recipe calls for shortening, but I used butter.
The batter is quite thick and luxurious.
Instead of chopped nuts, I used ground ones, because I feared the texture of chopped nuts might disturb the smooth canvas of the cookie.
Drop the cookies from a spoon onto a prepared baking sheet (either greased or lined with parchment).
If you want to vary the sizes, that's fine. Just bake like sizes on a single baking sheet as smaller ones will bake more quickly.
If you're like me (a bit challenged in the visual arts department), it always helps to have an artist neighbor to help with the decoration. Painter Marcy Wasserman kindly exchanged her paint brush for a for a pastry bag to create the imaginative the cat faces for the cookies. Thank you, Marcy! (And I can't believe how messy my kitchen is.)
I followed the recipe exactly, subbing out butter for shortening, and using buttermilk (sour milk) instead of the sweet milk. I also used high-quality unsweetened Scharfen berger chocolate, since chocolate is the star.
For the frosting, just mix up some confectioners sugar and milk to the desired consistency, and add food coloring. Place in a pastry bag (even a plastic bag) and use a small round tip to pipe the designs. Alternately, you can simply frost the cookies and add sprinkles.