There are probably more sensible ways of adding stripes to a cat-shaped biscuit, but this worked for me. At the unbaked stage my husband said the chocolatey bits looked like mitochondria, but please don't let that put you off.
Why was I trying to make stripey cat cookies in the first place? Well, our friend Rindy has just acquired a new kitten called Scampi and it was her birthday (Rindy's, not the cat's), so it seemed like a good idea at the time.
The biscuits are deliciously short and buttery. Scampi, as you can probably see, is a mischievous little scamp. Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.
The cookies are a variation on pinwheel biscuits in that they are made partly from a plain vanilla-scented dough and partly from a chocolate one. There the resemblance ends. To be honest they don't much resemble Scampi, either, but it's the thought that counts.
Stripey Cat Cookies (makes around 15)
Ingredients for the vanilla dough:
175g plain flour
75g icing sugar
150g softened butter
A few drops of vanilla essence
Ingredients for the chocolate dough:
40g plain flour
25g icing sugar
Lightly grease two baking trays and pre-heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3.
Put all of the ingredients for the chocolate mixture into a bowl and rub together to form a dough. Knead briefly to remove ant cracks, roll into a sausage shape, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to firm up for an hour.
Measure all of the ingredients for the vanilla mixture into another bowl and make a dough in the same way. Knead briefly to remove any cracks, place between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll out to a rough rectangle about 70 mm thick.
Unwrap the chocolate dough and cut thin slices from the log. Cut each into thin strips and place, spaced slightly apart, diagonally on the vanilla dough.
Replace the top layer of plastic wrap and press lightly with your rolling pin so the doughs are level. Chill again for half an hour.
Cut into cat shapes. Unless you are very good at free-hand work you'll need a cat-shaped cookie cutter. It's tricky to re-roll the off-cuts so just squidge them together but expect them to look more like tabbies.
Place on the baking trays spaced well apart and bake for 15-20 minutes until the paler parts are tinged with gold.
Cool on the baking tray for a minute then carefully (they're fragile) lift with a spatula and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
If you have any leftover dough, roll it into a sausage shape and chill it then cut off slices and bake as before (it might need a shorter time, depending on thickness).
The dough will freeze well for a couple of months, uncooked.
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