Rich chocolatey, peanut butter, oatmeal cookies with a soft, melt in your mouth top layer and crunchy bottom are more than just delicious- they are a fabulous addition to a Groundhog Day themed event. Even if you do not have a party to attend, start a fun tradition with the family where you make a batch of these festive cookies with your kids and then enjoy a groundhog mound while watching the classic movie featuring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.
Try to let your perfectionistic side go while making the groundhogs. Our “groundhogs” looked similar to hoot owls, cats, beavers, and Sid, the sloth from Ice Age. It is more fun to watch the kids be creative. If they do not turn out to be Pinterest or Facebook worthy, everyone will enjoy eating them and the kids will have a blast shaping and naming each “groundhog” based on the attributes.
Here are some things we learned while making them for the first time.
- You can use any cookie you have at home as long as it has a hole in the middle if you want to raise the groundhog up and down in the cookie mound. A thicker, crunchier cookie works best.
- Be prepared to use your fingers. Use a spoon to drop the dough on top of the cookie and then use your fingers to press the dough into more uniform mounds. Keep the dowel in the middle of the mound until you finish shaping the cookie. The dough should be firm enough to not fall into the hole when the dowel is removed to make the next cookie.
- Warm the Tootsie rolls in the microwave for about 5-7 seconds to make it easier to roll out the groundhog heads and upper torso. We made the mistake of melting them for 30 seconds and had a sticky, gooey mess on the plate that hardened which took some time to remove under hot water. There are organic Tootsie rolls available online.
- It is hard to pick up the small pieces of coconut flakes for the teeth. Use a toothpick to pick up the flakes and press them into the face. Then add the brown icing nose to cover the toothpick impression and hold the teeth in place.
1) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash and dry the 3/4″ wooden dowel. Place 16 store bought fudge striped cookies on the parchment paper.
2) Add 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) of butter, 1/2 cup milk, 2 cups cane sugar, and 1/4 cup cocoa to a medium saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat to melt the butter. When you see bubbles forming around the edges, stir for 60 seconds and remove from heat. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 3 cups of organic thick oats (quick cooking are smaller and can be used as well) and 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter. Stir well until combined.
3) Place a wooden dowel on top of the fudge striped cookie over the hole. Using a spoon, place the warm dough around the dowel and cover the store bought cookie. Use your fingers to press the dough into a mound. Remove the dowel and repeat on the other cookies. Allow the dough to cool before adding the groundhogs. Optional- Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you want the mounds to have snow on them.
4) Soften the tootsie rolls in the microwave for 5 seconds or room temperature marzipan. Using your palms, roll the candy into a tapered, oblong shape making sure the body will fit into the cookie hole. Gently pinch two ears on the top. Add two circular sprinkles for eyes. Use a food grade marker to draw the pupils. Cut coconut flakes into slivers and press into the face. Then add a circle of chocolate icing for the nose. Let the icing set before placing the groundhogs into the holes. Place your finger in the bottom of the cookie to raise and lower the groundhog. Look for his shadow. Enjoy!