Make these groundhog cookies over and over and over ...


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Nothing puts one in the mood for Groundhog Day like eating a groundhog or three.

Not the actual animal, mind you.

But up Punxsutawney way, where the animal and its shadow will give the world their annual weather forecast on Feb. 2 -- this coming Wednesday -- the attendant hoopla includes the munching and the baking of groundhog cookies. Groundhog-shaped cookies, that is, almost always gingerbread, made with groundhog cookie cutters that you can buy, in three different sizes, for $1.75 to $2.50 each, at Punxsutawney Phil's Official Souvenir Shop.

The shop, a project of the Punxsutawney Area Chamber of Commerce, has a mind-boggling array of souvenirs. You could dunk your groundhog cookies into a mug of Groundhog Brew coffee (from Pittsburgh's Nicholas Coffee). It could be a groundhog mug. Other food items include chocolate groundhogs and groundhog lollipops and groundhog hot and barbecue sauces.

Buy a cookie cutter and you get a recipe for Spicy Groundhogs, a creation of Elaine Light, taken from one of the cookbooks the gift shop sells, "Favorite Recipes from the Home of Punxsutawney Phil."

"That's the one we all make," says Chamber executive director Marlene A. Lellock. "The grocery stores all do this time of year."

Yes, if you don't want to make your own cookies, you can buy them. Gail's Ladylocks in Apollo sells the classic gingerbreads, as well as white- and fudge-iced sugar cookie versions, for $6.75 a dozen (and Gail Holm will ship them for a 25 percent handling fee and postage; 1-800-269-0004 or gailsladylocks.com).

To get that frigid feeling, you can use the cookies to adorn a Groundhog Sundae, which is another Elaine Light recipe shared by the gift shop (GroundhogStuff.com or 1-800-752-7445). The cookie groundhog stands on a square of ice cream and "sees" its shadow of chocolate sauce. Ms. Lellock notes that this was always the dessert at the annual Groundhog Banquet.

Events during this year's Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney include Kids Groundhog Cookie Decorating from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 2 at County Market on Groundhog Plaza. They'll be having fun with other food, too, from the Jan. 29 Breakfast with Phil to the S'mores with the Inner Circle and the 7th Groundhog Day Chili and Wing Cookoff, both on Feb. 1. The morning of Groundhog Day, on Feb. 2, there are several community breakfasts. For the full schedule and also mind-boggling array of information, visit groundhog.org.

SPICY GROUNDHOGS

PG tested

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Currants or raisins
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices together. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Blend in molasses and egg yolk. Stir in flour mixture and mix well. Form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper. Chill overnight. For ease in rolling, work with small amounts of dough at a time, topped with wax paper. Roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Remove wax paper. Cut out cookies with lightly floured cutter. Place cookies on greased baking sheet. Brush with slightly beaten egg. Decorate by giving each groundhog a currant or a raisin for an eye. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in preheated 350-degree oven. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet. Makes 12 to 15 large groundhogs or 3 to 4 dozen small cookies. Put cooled cookies in sealed container with a slice or 2 of bread to soften, if desired.

-- Elaine Light, via Punxsutawney Phil's Official Souvenir Shop

Groundhog Sundaes

  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream, cut into slices
  • Spicy Groundhogs (cookie recipe above)
  • Chocolate sauce (see below)

Place slices of ice cream on individual serving plates. Place a Spicy Groundhog in center of each slice. Drizzle chocolate sauce across ice cream and onto the plate, to suggest a shadow.

For the chocolate sauce
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt chocolate and butter in top of double boiler above simmering water. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, salt, milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Serve warm.

Yields 2 cups.

-- Elaine Light, via Punxsutawney Phil's Official Souvenir Shop


Bob Batz Jr.: bbatz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1930.


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