I regret that for the majority of my life I had not watched the movie My Neighbor Totoro 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.
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.
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!
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:
VANILLA BUTTER COOKIES
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!