Chocolate Bear Paws
One of King Fergus' -- and Merida's -- favorite stories is how the peg-legged monarch lost his limb in a skirmish with the fearsome Mor'du. Inspired by the legendary bear, these rich, chocolaty cookies are tipped with slivered almond claws.
- Small heavy saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- Mixing bowls
- Electric mixer
- Baking sheet topped with parchment paper
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped into pieces
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Slivered almonds
- Disposable food prep gloves (for shaping the cookies)
- Cooling rack
1. Melt the butter and chocolate in a small heavy saucepan on the stovetop over low heat, stirring continually. Set the melted chocolate aside to cool slightly.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl. Set the mixture aside for now.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and eggs together with an electric mixer at high speed until light and airy, about 3 or so minutes. Blend in the vanilla extract and semi-cooled chocolate.
4. Stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture one half at a time. When the dough is evenly mixed (it will be fairly soft), cover the bowl with plastic and set it in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.
5. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. For the first cookie, roll a 1-inch ball of dough for the front of the bear paw and a half-inch ball for the heel. Gently press the two balls together and set them atop the parchment paper-topped baking sheet. Flatten the dough a bit with your thumb. For claws, insert five slivered almonds partway into the dough at the front of the paw. Continue making cookies in this manner, spacing them apart on the baking sheet.
6. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and then transfer them to a rack to cool before serving.