Prep 2 hrs
Cook 10 mins
Pre-historic cookies made with a cookie press (also known as a cookie gun or Spritz cookie maker). I stumbled on this recipe when I was looking for some easy instructions for making polyhedra for Christmas decorations. George Hart does some amazing sculptures based on polyhedra. He also has an odd sense of humour. This recipe for Trilobite cookies tickled my funnybone. I’ll let him tell you about them. [url=http://www.georgehart.com/trilobites/trilobite.html]Prof Hart's Trilobite Cookies[/url] A couple of weeks after reading this recipe, I was asked to help take some students (13 year olds) on a science trip to the museum. Turns out they were studying rocks and fossils. Brilliant! I baked up a batch of these cookies, which they ate before going into the museum because we couldn’t take food inside. I told them that these were fossil cookies, trilobites, and that they were to look for the real thing in the museum. The students were given a presentation and then let loose on an exhibit where they had to match up rocks and fossils to labels. Some kids came running up to me waving a real fossilised trilobite, all excited, “Is this it? Is this a trilobite Miss?” They’re so sweet – really still children at that age even if most of them are bigger than me! This is my recipe for cookie dough and Prof Hart’s idea for a cute cookie. (Note, for the purposes of ZWT4 I have included this recipe in the Germany section since trilobite fossils can be found at Hunsrück Slates near Bundenbach, Germany)
- 230 g butter (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 1⁄2 cups plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 200 g chocolate
- cake decorations (like silver dragees or candy shapes)
- Cream together the butter and sugar.
- Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract and mix well.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder and gradually stir to incorporate all the flour into the creamed mixture.
- Do not chill!
- Make a sausage shape with the dough a little smaller than the barrel of the cookie press. Load the barrel and insert the serrated slot shape in the end.
- The serrated slot is usually used to make rectangular cookies by squeezing out a length of dough. That’s not what we are going to do. Put the cookie press flat against the baking sheet and squeeze until you feel a bit of resistance, then lift off the cookie press, just as you would do for most of the other shapes. This gives an oval shape with ridges that looks a bit (a lot!) like a trilobite.
- If you are very clever, make all the trilobites the same size. Alternatively, accept that you probably won’t get them all the same size and deliberately make some baby ones and mummy and daddy ones.
- Bake at 200deg C or 375degF for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the baking sheet and let the trilobites cool on a cake rack.
- At this stage, Prof Hart sticks two cookies together with some jam. I didn’t have enough time to do that.
- Break the chocolate into a bowl and microwave on medium for 1 minute. Stir and then continue to zap for 30-10 seconds at a time until the chocolate is melted.
- Dip about one third of the end of each cookie in chocolate and place on baking paper or waxed paper.
- Place two candy decorations or silver dragees on top for eyes.
- Leave until the chocolate has set.
- Store in an airtight container until, as the Prof says, they are extinct again.