Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhog Cookies

Just in case you didn't is Groundhog Day and, yes it's true, Punxsutawny Phil did not see his shadow.  That means for all of you in the Northeast, who are blanketed with snow, sleet and ice, can look forward to an early Spring.  I baked a cookie in his honor, resembling our little friend and his duty to predict the next 6 weeks.

I actually have an interesting story to share of a groundhog, who happened into my garden one summer.  We were living in Connecticut and Kelly had just moved into the apartment above the garage after leaving California.  I always had a large garden that I rototilled beyond our back yard, but still fenced in, for a variety of vegetables.  I did just like my grandfather taught me--always plant enough to share with the "critters."  However, a groundhog had tunneled under the fence and found his way into my garden, not to share, but to take a bite out of everything.  The frustration was that he didn't really like eggplant or Brussels sprouts, but each morning I'd find bites taken out of them as if he was tasting to make sure he didn't like them!  That's not sharing [LOL]!

A friend of ours suggested a way to get rid of the groundhog was by lighting an "exterminator bomb" and dropping it into the hole.  Apparently, this method gases the groundhog to death.  Kelly was mortified and forbid me to go to that extreme.  I have to admit, although he was very destructive, I really could never bring myself to do it either.  So, I bought a Have-a-Heart trap and decided if I was lucky enough to catch him, I'd take him far away and release him into the wild.  In a couple of days, we both heard this commotion in the backyard and sure enough, he had gone into the trap.  (Seems he loved apples smeared with peanut butter and couldn't resist).

I was so nervous to go near the cage because Bob, as Kelly referred to him as, was really ticked off that he had fallen into my trap.  Kelly's idea was to get a large towel to put over the cage, which we did, and then try to pick it up and put it in the car.  Success!  We drove about 10 miles to a desolate part of Ridgefield, surrounded by woods, and carefully taking the cage from the car, I set it down and released Bob into the wild.  We had left the car doors opened so we could jump in quickly just in case he came at us, but instead, he took off into the woods, chattering loudly (probably cursing us out!) as he escaped.

Ridgefield Bob may not have liked the relocation package we offered him, but we both felt better that he was still alive to find somewhere else to get his meals!

I created these cookies to resemble our celebrity of the day with a truffle center to satisfy everyone digging out of the snow and feeling like spring will never be here.

Groundhog Cookies
Truffle center:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chips

Bring the heavy whipping cream to a low boil, then pour over the bittersweet chocolate chips, which are in a glass bowl.  Let set a few minutes and then, stir to combine.
Refrigerate until firm to the touch; several hours (or even the day before).  Form into a small ball, about a teaspoon size. Refrigerate once more while you make up the dough.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup toasted blanched almonds (pecans, walnuts, other words, your favorite)
3/4 of a package of sweetened Coconut, toasted (optional) to roll cookies in

Preheat oven 350F-degrees.  Spread the almonds and the coconut (in separate baking sheets) and toast.  The almonds will take about 6-8 minutes, but the coconut will take up to 15 minutes.  With the coconut, use a fork to stir every 5 minutes to get an even browning.  Cool thoroughly.

In the KitchenAid, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until fluffy.  Add the sugars and vanilla and beat once more.  Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each addition.  Add the cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix to combine.  Add the flour and the almonds together and mix until the dough comes together.

To construct Groundhogs:  Scoop up a hefty tablespoon of dough, flatten it, then, place the dollop of truffle in the center.  Bring up the dough around the truffle center.
Roll the cookie in the toasted coconut and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Flatten slightly with your hand.

Bake 12-14 minutes, until set on top.  Cool 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.
The flavors of the cookies are divine; almond and coconut just seems to blend so well together.  However, feel free to experiment with pecans and chocolate jimmies or macadamia nuts and toffee pieces.  The combinations are endless. 

I hope Phil predicted correctly for all my friends feeling a little cabin-fever lately.  And, I hope Bob went on to have a family and enjoy freedom in his new home :-D  Enjoy!


  1. Yum! I'd like one of these right now! Thanks for posting.

  2. hehehe you crack me up with your re-location story : ) Bring on Spring!! Mmm... these cookies do sound divine! xoxo

  3. These cookies look and sound like something that wouldn't last around my house for very long! I just might have to bake some real soon.

  4. Yum! I would love to have a couple of these right now, all warm and gooey and oozing with chocolate. Susan your stories might make me chuckle or cry; but they always evoke memories and emotions. That’s a good thing – we all need to stay in touch with our feelings.

    Warm hugs,

  5. These sound delicious!! I've never had a recipe for groundhog day. Would be fun to make with my kiddoes at school!

  6. an early spring...wonderful. i just hope that doesn't mean an early fall for us.

  7. Loved your story about the trap. I'm happy he had a relocation and hope he found his new area to his liking.
    We had a lot of trouble with raccoons and trapped several. We moved them to a more suitable area, far away from our house. My hubby had one in the trap one day and put it in the boat as he was on his way to go fishing. The ranger spotted him and told him he couldn't release the raccoon in the lake area, so my hubby wasn't about to let that deter him from fishing.... he went fishing with the raccoon in the boat. Found another spot on his way home to let the raccoon go, but not near the lake!

  8. Denise, I bet he made a wonderful fishing buddy since he probably slept through it :D