Just want to share with you my smiley face cookies– I had the idea of making it for a while but just didn’t get the chance to find a recipe for the cookie dough base. Finally saw a checkerboard cookie recipe from The Best of Martha Stewart Living: Dessert and decided to test out my idea.
I had fun making the smiley faces. The dough was like play dough but a bit drier. In order to make smiley face, I had to patch pieces of dough together. At one point I was a little worry because I had heard of too much handling of cookie dough can produce dense cookies. Luckily the cookies came out yummy, tasted just like shortbread cookies, flaky and buttery. These little guys are so cute. It’s also fun when slicing the cookie dough as the faces change from one another. I baked my cookies a little longer so the bottom was brown when the top was still white– giving my kids choices of white face or brown face 🙂 I am glad to say that my trial was successful, and I will definitely make it again with a much better looking smiley.
Smiley Face (Ice Box) Cookies Recipe
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter– softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 3/4 cups flour– sifted
2 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until well blended and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour, scraping down sides of bowl. The dough will be loose and crumbly.
- Turn dough out onto a work surface. Knead dough by pushing small amounts away from you with the heel of your hand for 1-2 minutes. Divide dough into 1/3 and 2/3 portion.
- To make chocolate dough: sprinkle cocoa powder over the 1/3 portion. Knead until cocoa has been fully incorporated. This is the dough to make hair, eyes and lip. Keep the remaining 2/3 portion back in the mixing bowl. This is the dough for the face.
- To make eyes: take some chocolate dough, using your hands moving back and forth, gently roll the dough into 2 thin strips, set aside. To Make lip: take some chocolate dough and roll it out flat between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Remove plastic wrap and trim to 1 inch wide. Save the remaining chocolate dough for the hair. It’s okay if the eye strips and the lip falling apart, just patch up when you assemble the face later.
- To assemble the face: Take some plain dough and roll it out. Put 2 chocolate strips on the dough, then cover the strips with some more plain dough. Add the flat chocolate dough on the top for the lip, be sure to create a curve or you’ll have a straight face instead. Cover up the lip with the rest of plain dough. At last, turn the log upside down and add the remaining chocolate dough (this will be the hair). Feel free to play with it to create different hair look. Finally, shape the dough into long log. Important notes: 1) wash hands before handling plain dough to ensure none of chocolate dough crumbs fall onto the plain dough, or you’ll have “dirty faces”, 2) when making the face, be sure there is no gap between the doughs, or you’ll have holes on the face.
- Wrap the dough tightly and chill in the fridge at least 1 hour before baking (cookie dough can be stored in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for months). Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice cookies into 1/4 inch thickness, lay on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. Cool cookies on the rack then store in air tight container. For the cookies that are not ready to bake, continue to chill in the fridge. Leaving sliced cookies dough in room temperature too long will melt the butter, thus creating cookies that are more spread out/flatter and lose their shape after baking.