This recipe was inspired by a favorite childhood recipe of mine for cream cheese Christmas cookies, and an adorable photo of an albino hedgehog that I saw the other day on World's Most Amazing Things:
The hedgehog was soooo darn cute, I could just eat him up!! Well, not literally. But that did start me thinking.......and I decided to head off to the kitchen to make my own little hedgehogs. I wanted a cookie that would be soft and lightly sweet on the inside, and a little prickly on the outside, just like a hedgehog! Only actually, I couldn't imagine this little guy in anything other than CHOCOLATE, so I came up with my own cookie recipe to make them with. Try it out, you'll be glad you did!
Step 1: The Recipe
1 cup white sugar
1 cup un-salted butter, softened
1/2 cup softened cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg yolk
2 1/4 cups un-bleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup high quality cocoa powder, such as Droste
1 cup of finely sliced raw almonds. * See step 3 below
1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips, or candy eyes
1. In a large mixing bowl mix the butter, sugar and cream cheese on medium until light and fluffy. Mix in the salt, vanilla, and the egg yolk until thoroughly blended. Whisk together the flour and the cocoa powder in a small separate bowl, then add to the butter/sugar mixture. The dough will be very soft and sticky, almost like cookie dough mousse. Cover the dough in the bowl with a layer of plastic wrap, and chill the dough in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)
3. Take your cup of finely sliced almonds, and search through them to find pairs of "ears" (un-broken almond slivers). Set as many ears aside as will be needed for your cookies, enough for about 2 dozen hedgehogs, i.e. 24 pairs of ears/48 slivered almonds. Finely chop the rest of the almonds, and gather them into a small pile on your cutting surface.
4. With a kitchen tablespoon scoop a heaping spoon full of dough out of your bowl, and roll it in the palm of your hands until it becomes a teardrop shaped ball. I used my fingers to "pull" the nose from the round dough ball. The dough warms quickly, so work in small batches and keep the rest of the dough in the refrigerator.
5. Roll the dough ball in the finely chopped almonds, taking care not to coat his/her nose and face in almonds. The dough is sticky- you may need to clean your hands after rolling each little hedgehog.
6.. Place the dough balls on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, at least 1 " apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
7. Allow to cool slightly on the cookie sheet- just cool enough to touch with your hands. Poke matching "ears" into your hedgehog's head where the almond coating meets his face, one just each side of center where you imagine a hedgehogs ears should go :) Then, take 3 mini chocolate chips and place them on his face while the cookie is still warm for eyes and a nose. If necessary, hold the mini chip in place until the warmth of the cookie melts the chip slightly so that it will adhere to the cookie.
8. Use candy eyes instead of the mini chips for eyes if you prefer, and add little candy sprinkles for a bow. I melted a teaspoon of chocolate chips to use as "glue" for the sprinkles to hold their little hair bows in place.
So simple. So cute. Now eat one- they're absolutely delicious!!! And no actual hedgehogs were harmed in the making of these yummy cookies :)