Tuesday, November 19, 2013

From the Cookbook: Owl Cookies

A Wise Owl

A wise old owl
Sat in an oak.
The more he saw,
The less he spoke.
The less he spoke,
The more he heard.
Why can't we be like
That wise old bird?

~ Edward Hersey Richards

My mouth gets me into trouble.  All the time.  When I was little, my mother called me "frank."  I thought I was being precocious. When my in-laws called me "opinionated," I thought I was just being honest.  And on Sunday, when I offended that grown man at church after telling him what I really thought of his behavior, I thought I was being brave.  

The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to "listen" to others, especially BEFORE we speak.  For example, I have student right now who is testing me to my limits.  This person is disrespectful, antagonistic, bull-headed, and sarcastic.  Yep, a teacher's dream.  I hoped I would warm up to them.  I haven't.  A few weeks ago, I arrived at my breaking point.  I penned a stirring rant in my head that would force this student into humble submission after all the misery they have caused me this semester.  I summoned my frankest and most opinionated and bluntest self for the delivery.  

But then (uncharacteristically), I held back.  

I don't know why, but I just couldn't do it.  Instead, I decided to LISTEN to the student for a few days---and not just to their words, but to the "message" behind the words.  I had to sift through heavy shovelings of attitude and sass, but at the bottom of the pile, I found an individual who was scared and lonely and insecure.  They had come from a broken home, they didn't fit in, and they were starved for attention.  I now realize that the hesitancy I felt in speaking to this person was God and a host of heavenly angels clamping my lips shut so that I would learn the virtues of listening FIRST and speaking last.  This realization hasn't made my semester any easier, but it has made it more meaningful.  When this student makes my day a trial, I can see it for what it is instead of what it is not.

As a nod to the wisdom of "listening" as the wise old owl did in the famous nursery rhyme, I have decided to share these adorable little owl cookies with you.

I started with a spiced sugar cookie dough like this one and then started to assemble my little creatures.  

  1. Start by cutting a circle of dough about 1/4 inch thick.  
  2. Next, create two small balls of dough for the eyes.  
  3. Press a chocolate chip with the bottom side up into the center of each of the eyeballs.
  4. Take a whole almond, turn it on its side and press it between the eyeballs.
  5. Finally, take a fork and gently press it twice into the bottom of the circle to create the impression of wings or feet.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until cookies are set (not brown).

I will be honest here: I think I would have preferred peanut butter cookie dough for the base.  Without icing, the sugar cookie dough was just too blah.  But holy moly are they cute!

What I suggest you do now is make a batch of these, take them to a neighbor, and then just "listen" to the compliments roll in . . . :)

 Sharing at . . .


  1. These owl cookies are so cute. I think a peanut butter cookie variation would be tasty too!

  2. How adorable! Definitely making these with my grandkids this weekend!

  3. These cookies are so cute - I have never seen any like them previously! Love the poem, too. I used it in a post recently - mostly, because I needed to read it, again - lol!!

  4. Too adorable! I remember that poem from childhood!

  5. Thanks for the story! I think it's a great reminder for us all. Your cookies look amazing! Have a great Thanksgiving. ~ Jamie

  6. I am so glad to see you back! I have been popping by every so often for over a year now and really enjoy your book quotes and projects. So good for the soul and the eye!

  7. Your owl cookies are adorable, and very much on point with your story. For I think you were born with a natural gift to detect schmucks (I could call them something else but this Yiddish word is probably the best one for describing a certain type of personality), and as a child that natural gift came to the fore. And now, as an adult, after being bussed about for years by people who were offended by you expressing your natural gift, you are reining it in, against nature. I don't agree with that at all! Maybe your student is shy, lonely and abused, but that does not give said student the right to abuse all of those around! That's just perpetuating the cycle of nastiness and how will that ever be checked if no one calls the student to account? You are right to call it out for what it is. This isn't about political correctness. It's about being bold enough to call a schmuck exactly what she or he is - a schmuck! I think we've given the schmucks in the world far too much power because we, as women, feel it's impolite to call someone out. Well you know what, I think it's about time we started calling some people out!

  8. I love your blog... what a Christmas gift for me to discover you two now. Instant follow!

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  17. May I use an owl cookie image in a presentation and on my blog? I wrote a book called Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls and LOVE these!

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