Wednesday, 16 December 2015

A Very Merry Totoro Christmas to You!

I regret that for the majority of my life I had not watched the movie My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ) the 1988 Japanese animation written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and produced by Studio Ghibli.  Just last year my kids and I watched it at home and thereafter I was smitten.

My kids love all things Totoro (and I do too)!  The storyline of the mythical cat-like ginormous creature that befriends the children in the animation had us wanting more Totoro.  I've bought a few items for my kids and I have attempted to make Totoro baked goods (like everyone else on Instagram!)

The thing is, I am kind of cheapie when it comes to shelling out mucho $$ for a cookie cutter. Today I decided I was going to make my own cookie cutter using pliers and sheet metal. My hubby said no way; that his scraps from work are industrial and heavy gauge so I won't be able to bend it.  I thought of using a tin tuna can or a pop can but I don't have any pop in the house...just homemade kombucha!  So I just drew a totoro outline and cut it out on a scrap piece of paper.  Then I traced over the dough with a knife; cutting out the totoro shape.  

My Totoro Cookie consists of the following elements:  Black Sesame Butter Cookie body, Vanilla Butter cookie tummy, Matcha Butter Cookie leaf, Dark Chocolate fur and White Chocolate eyeballs.  Everything is natural in colour; coming from the different ingredients I used.  The cookie base I used was my trusty ol' Vanilla Butter Cookie dough and I just tossed in the natural flavourings: ground black sesame & matcha powder.
Unfortunately, the totoro cookies don't bake evenly because the ears stick out and are a little more brown than the rest of the body but that's okay. I actually like brown cookies because they're tastier--that's caramelization, folks!

The most difficult part of the totoro cookie decorating experience is those dang whiskers and fur chevrons.  I contemplated using a fine round tip for my piping bag. Then at the last minute I decided to do everything by hand and a toothpick.
This one turned out the best I think. He's a cutie! The matcha leaves melded onto the Totoro foreheads no problem as they baked.  I'll be giving away one Totoro Cookie away with each gift bag of cookies I'm making this year.  Each bag will consist of tiny round sparkly butter cookies in each flavour: Matcha, Black Sesame & Vanilla.

I have plans for this Copper Snowflake cutter I recently bought on sale at WS.  It's resting on a log of my Vanilla Butter Cookies that are waiting to be cut and baked off.

I was pretty handy this Christmas and made everything by hand...even my Christmas Cards. This is my LawnFawn stamps & die cut set employed in my butter cookie packaging frenzy

The little penguin throwing a snowball at his deer friend is a so cute!

See those vanilla butter cookies? Those cookies are the base recipe that all my flavoured cookies evolve from: toss in flavourings and you will have delicious cookies in no time. Easy-Peasy Christmas Cookies!

Here is my trusty Vanilla Butter Cookie Recipe once again:

  • 1 Cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup organic evaporated cane sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 Cups sifted all - purpose flour (or gf flour blend)
  • 3/4 tsp teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 Cup fine sanding sugar or extra organic evaporated cane sugar for rolling cookie logs
MATCHA:  add 1 tablespoon matcha powder (1 tsp if you don't like matcha flavour)
BLACK SESAME:  add 2 tablespoons ground black sesame
  1. Put butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in whole egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour and salt and mix until combined.
  2. Halve dough; shape each half into a log. Place each log on a 12-by-16 inch sheet of parchment. Roll in parchment to 1 ½ inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log. Transfer to paper towel tubes to hold shape, and refrigerate until firm or freeze until firm, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Roll log in extra evaporated cane sugar or sanding sugar. Cut into ½-inch thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake until edges are golden, 18 to 20 minutes. (cakebrain note: ensure the cookies are golden brown and they'll taste much more flavourful as well as have a better crunch). Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.
1. Divide batch of dough into 3 bowls (pull off one handful to colour green with matcha, 1/3 should be vanilla and 2/3 should be black sesame).  Add various flavourings: matcha, black sesame and keep one plain vanilla.  Roll out black sesame cookie to an even thickness.  Roll the vanilla dough into a log shaped to the size of Totoro's tummy.  You will slice off thin pieces to place on the black sesame totoro.  
2.  Using a paper template as a guide for Totoro's body.  Trace with a knife with the black sesame dough.
3. Slice off a thin piece off of the vanilla dough log.  Place it on Totoro's tummy area.  
4. Take a tiny piece of matcha dough and cut out a leaf shape and place on top of Totoro's head.  
5. Bake the cookies, keeping a close eye on the ears so they don't burn.  I started checking the cookies at the 10 minute mark.  Depending on the thinness and size of your cookies, it'll take from 10-18 minutes.  Just keep an eye on those ears!

1 comment:

Norm said...

That's awesome. We love Totoro also.


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