nutella panda cookies
this panda cookie cutter set is adorable, and although it seems like they couldn't possibly be improved, let's not forget that world nutella day is around the corner. it really does make everything better. after spying cakeletts and doilies panda macarons, the art direction of these cookies was clear. who can refuse a panda rump? these only required 2 of the cutters, all four of the faces, a wooden bamboo skewer (or toothpick), and a straw.
the cutters come with a recipe, and if you can read japanese, i'm sure it's the way to go. baking obsession's chocolate and vanilla sugar cookies are delicious, but it took a few tricks to get the dough to cooperate with the cutters.
start by rolling out the room temperature dough- lightly floured- on a piece of parchment. dip the cutters in flour before using them, then stamp out the faces, and cut out the heads. don't bother removing the eyes or scraps between the faces. slide the parchment onto a cookie sheet and pop in the fridge for about 10-15minutes.
when the dough is chilled, remove the eyes with the wooden skewer and all the scraps between the faces. at this point, you can easily handle the cookies to move them out a bit on the sheet. the dough doesn't spread when baked, so they can still be close.
same thing applies to the chocolate heads- cut them out on the parchment and then chill the dough before removing the scraps and repositioning on the sheet.
to make the rumps, use the face cutter, but instead of stamping a face, cut a small hole near center bottom with the straw. roll up a tiny ball of chocolate dough and smash it gently in the hole. the smaller, the cuter with the tails...
once everything is baked and cooled, all it takes to assemble them is a shmear of nutella on each side of the chocolate head, and then gently squishing on the face and rear. they'd be too cute to eat, if they weren't so delicious...
nutella panda cookies:
adapted from baking obsession
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- nutella (can't beat home made)
- in a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. beat in the eggs and extracts.
- sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. add to the mixer bowl and beat until just combined. turn out the dough onto a floured surface and kneed for a minute.
- divide the dough into 3 equal portions. kneed the cocoa powder into 1/3 of the dough, until well incorporated. shape it into a 1/2" thick disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour. shape the other two doughs balls into 1/2" thick disks, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge.
- preheat oven to 350, with rack in the center.
- let doughs come to room temp, then roll out one of the vanillas, lightly floured, on a piece of parchment, about 3mm thick. dip all the cutters in a bit of flour. stamp out the faces, and cut out the face outline. transfer the parchment to a baking sheet, and chill for 10-15minutes, remove from the fridge, and use the skewer to get rid of the excess dough in the eyes and between the faces. squish the scraps together and put back in the fridge before rolling again. evenly space the cookies on the sheet and bake for 5min. let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
- cut another round of face outlines, without using the expressions. use the straw to cut out a spot for the tails. move the parchment to a baking sheet, and chill for a few minutes. remove the excess dough between the cookies, squish the scraps together, and put back in the fridge before rolling again. when the rears are chilled, roll some small balls of chocolate dough and fill the holes with them. bake for 5 minutes, let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then move to a cooling rack.
- roll out the chocolate dough on parchment as before, and cut out the head/ears. transfer the parchment to a baking sheet, and chill for 10-15minutes, remove from the fridge, and use the skewer to get rid of the excess dough between the heads. squish the scraps together and put back in the fridge before rolling again. evenly space the cookies on the sheet and bake for 5min. let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
- once all the cookies are cooled, assemble them. add a layer of nutella to the back of the chocolate heads, and gently press a rump into it. add a layer of nutella to the front of the head, and squish a face into it. place the cookies in the fridge to firm up the nutella.
makes 60-70 triple decker cookies.