By Izzy Woods
One Christmas, I had the idea to make little imprints of my cat's paw in pieces of clay. I thought they would make good Christmas ornaments. Kooky- my cat- was less of a fan. The whole ordeal involved quite a bit of squirming and scratching, and the clay pieces were fairly torn up by the end.
This year, I developed a cookie recipe instead. While making the inner-pattern is a bit finicky, it all pays off in that magical moment where you first slice into your dough.
1 cup unsalted butter (223g)- soft and at room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups plain flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
Making your dough:
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar until well incorporated (using an electric mixer is handy here!), then stir in your egg and vanilla.
2. Add in your flour, salt and bicarbonate soda, and mix until it just comes together.
3. Remove roughly 2/3rds of your dough from the bowl, form it into a disk and wrap it in cling film, before putting in the fridge (this is your vanilla portion).
4. Stir cocoa powder into the remaining dough, before forming it into another disk and putting it into the fridge.
5. Leave these to chill for around 30minutes.
Making your pattern:
1. Remove your chilled dough from the fridge- depending on how firm it feels, it may need a few minutes to warm up.
2. Take around 1/3rd of your chocolate dough and roll it into four individual snakes of dough (it's okay if these break into pieces slightly)- for me, this was the hardest part.. so just have patience and know they don't need to be perfect!
3. Roll your remaining chocolate dough into a thick log, then lightly imprint it with the handle of a wooden spoon to get that paw-print "U" shape.
4. Roll out a strip of your vanilla dough- around the same length as your chocolate snakes- and line your snakes on top of it, with around 1cm in-between them. Then fill in the gaps between your snakes with more vanilla dough. (don't worry if this looks SUPER messy)
6. Now for the magic- with your log facing U-side downwards (vanilla side down), carefully place your snake-vanilla strip of dough on top, and gently wrap it around your log.
7. On a heavily floured surface, roll out the rest of your vanilla dough into a rectangle around 1cm thick, and slightly longer than your chocolate-vanilla log.
8. Carefully place your entire log-structure on one side of your dough-rectangle and roll it up.
9. Wrap your final log in cling film, gently smoothing the log-shape. Then place in the fridge to chill for one hour.
Slice and bake (the fun part)
1. Preheat your oven to 175C
2. Remove the cling film from your log, place on a chopping board and slowly slice out paw-print rounds with a sharp knife- if your pattern didn't turn out, they'll still taste nice!
3. Place on a baking sheet lined with cling film and bake for 10-12 mins (mine were a little too well done!)
4. Remove from the oven & enjoy!
** Note, these are certified HUMAN TREATS- not suitable for cats!