Night Before Christmas Mice

DeDe Wilson "A Field Guide to Christmas Cookies"
Cooking Demo
Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2003

3 C. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
1 C. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C. granulated sugar
1 t. almond or vanilla extract
1 large egg

sliced natural almonds
10 feet red or black licorice laces, cut into 3" lengths
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted and kept slightly  warm

Whisk together flour and salt in a small bowl.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high  speed, beat butter
until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually,  beating until light and
fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in extract. Beat in egg. Add  about one-third of the flour mixture and mix on low speed. Gradually add  remaining flour, mixing just until blended. Scrape dough onto large piece of plastic  wrap and cover completely with wrap. Refrigerate until firm enough to  roll into balls, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookies sheets  with parchment paper. Poll pieces of dough between your palms into 1 1/4"  ovals. Slightly elongate one side to form nose. Gently pinch bridge of nose to form  eye sockets. Place 2 sliced almonds behind eyes to make ears. Place mice 2  inches apart on cookie sheets.

Bake until light golden brown on bottom and around  edges, about 15 minutes. Place pans on racks and immediately insert skewer into  mouse rounded posterior, going in about 1/2 inch. Remove skewer and insert length  of licorice for tail as far as it will go. It will wedge in and adhere to the still  warm cookie.

Place melted chocolate in parchment cone and snip tiny  opening. Pipe small chocolate eyes and nose in appropriate place. Place sheet  in refrigerator until chocolate has firmed up.