One thing to know about my daughter is that she loves cats. LOVES them. Anything that can have a cat on it, or be shaped like a cat, is bound to come out that way at some point. So when I suggested that we make cookies for a party she was invited to, she immediately declared that they would be “kitty cookies, with chocolate chips for eyes.” Fair enough, I could do that!
Since the only cat-shaped cookie cutter I have is a Halloween-style arched-back cat, I decided to make a slice-and-bake roll of dough and go a little more cartoony and do kitty faces instead. I colored the main dough pink, leaving part of it plain to use for the muzzle and the insides of the ears, and formed the two doughs into a log I could slice cookies off of. A little more work to begin with, but easier than rolling out thin and definitely quick at the end for decorating.
This dough recipe is sweet and buttery, but not as crumbly as shortbread due to the addition of egg yolks. I’ve done a monkey-face variation using cocoa to tint some of the dough brown, and it’s just as delicious.
Kitty Face Cookies (makes 24)
1 cup (16 tbs.) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Pink food coloring
Decorating icing or chocolate
1. Cream together butter and sugars.
2. Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat until smooth.
3. Add flour and salt and stir into a soft dough.
4. Set aside 1/3 of the dough, and use the food coloring to tint the remaining 2/3 of the dough.
5. Set aside about 1/4 cup of plain dough and roll it into a 1/2″ diameter snake. Form the rest of the plain dough into a cylinder about 1.5″ in diameter. Freeze both until firm. I like to set the cylinders into cardboard paper towel rolls to keep them from flattening on the bottom.
6. In the meantime, chill the pink dough to give it a little more firmness. Once the plain dough cylinders are completely firm, roll out the pink dough and wrap each cylinder in a layer of pink.
7. Chill the pink-wrapped dough cylinders for another 15 minutes or so. Once firm, slice the larger cylinder into 1/4″ slices. Slice the smaller cylinder into 1/4″ thick “ears.” You can either slice it lengthwise and the cut off the little half-circles, or you can just slice off circles and then cut them in half.
8. Set your dough faces onto a foil-lined baking sheet at least 2″ apart, and press the ears into place. Pinch the ears into points with your fingers (the dough will have softened enough for your to do this by now). Chill for at least 15 minutes.
9. Bake at 325 degrees F for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to take on a hint of brown. Cool on the sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack.
10. When completely cool, use melted chocolate or a powdered-sugar icing to pipe the details to make faces.