When my sister and I were kids, my mom would take us to the Rainbow Bread Outlet in Hutchinson on weekly grocery trips.
If we were especially good, we sometimes got a chance to pick out a bag of Sathers candy, which were two for $1 at the time. One of my favorites was black licorice laces. They were so fun to tie into knots and play with while you ate your treat.
Well, despite my licorice-based disappointment, it didn’t last long, as my cookies not only turned out adorably but really delicious, too. In fact, if you’re not in the mood to do all the work to form mice out of your cookie dough, I still recommend making this recipe just as plain cookies.
The recipe I used comes from the blog “Pampered Chicken Mama.” You can find the original at https://thefrugalchicken.com/childrens-book-read-and-bake-series-chocolate-cookie-mice-for-frederick-by-leo-lionni/. I added extra vanilla in my version.
- 1/2 cup butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- mini M&Ms for noses
- shelled peanuts for ears
- lace licorice for tails
- Cream the butter, shortening and sugar together, beating for about two minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and egg.
- Beat in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt until everything is well combined.
- Form the dough into a disc shape and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate it for at least three hours or overnight.
- For baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
- To form the mice, scoop out about one tablespoon of dough. Roll it into a ball and then shape it into a teardrop shape.
- Add an M&M to the pointed end to create a nose for your mouse, and then stick two halves of a peanut into the top of the dough to form ears. (Make sure they’re stuck in about halfway so they’ll stay better.)
- Place the cookies about one inch apart on the prepared sheets.
- Bake for 10 minutes and then let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for about five minutes before carefully poking a piece of lace licorice into each cookie to create tails. (I used my meat thermometer to make a small hole to make it a little easier to get my licorice to stick into the cookie.) Let the cookies cool completely, and then store them in an airtight container.
These were adorable and a perfect, bite-sized treat. Plus, the recipe made almost 40 little mice, so if you’re looking for some cookies to share, this is a great recipe.
The only drawback was that the peanuts shifted a bit, and some of them popped out. I ended up either sticking them back into the warm cookies or deciding that they were good samples for me to try. You also really need to put these in a single layer in your container if you want to keep them intact.
Also, if you’re like me and can’t find black licorice laces, you’ll have to settle for red tails, too. In the end, it’s not so bad, though. Making a mouse-shaped cookie look too realistically might make them decidedly less appetizing.
This piece first appeared in print on March 17, 2022.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.