Black-and-White Spotted Animal Cookies

What is black and white and sweet all over? These chocolate and vanilla cookies. Plus, this is the perfect baking project for kids -- let them help drop and roll out the dough. Then dunk in a tall glass of cold milk.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 18 to 22 cookies (depending on cookie cutter size)
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2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (see Cook's Note)

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon fine salt

1 large egg

1 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

5 tablespoons dark cocoa, such as Hershey's Special Dark 100% Cocoa

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

1/4 cup of pink royal icing


Special equipment:
1 cat, 1 dog and 1 cow cookie cutter
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat together the egg and vanilla in a small bowl.
  2. Beat together the butter, granulated sugar and confectioners' sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed. Once incorporated, increase the speed to medium and beat until slightly creamy, about 3 minutes. 
  3. Reduce the speed to low again and slowly pour in the egg mixture; beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, increasing the speed as the dough gets thicker to keep the beaters spinning, and scraping down the sides of the bowl and the beaters themselves as needed. Once all the flour is just incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and beat, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the dough is very smooth, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove half the dough from the bowl and set aside. Beat the cocoa into the remaining half on low speed until well combined, about 2 minutes. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment.
  6. Drop grape sized pieces of plain and chocolate dough in the center of a separate piece of parchment (the dough pieces should be close to each other). Put another piece of parchment on top and using a rolling pin roll the dough to 1/8-to-1/4-inch-thick to create a spotted dough. Chill to firm slightly, about 15 minutes. Cut out cat, dogs and cows shapes with cookie cutters. Push the scrap back together (don't stack or roll into a ball) and reroll and cut out more cookies. Repeat until you have used up as much dough as you can. Transfer the cut out dough to the prepared baking sheets and bake until set but still light in color on the plain cookie dough part, about 12 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Use the melted chocolate to dot on eyes using a toothpick. Put the pink icing into a small resealable plastic bag and make a small opening by snipping the corner. Pipe the frosting to give the cat a nose, the cow an udder and a nose and the dog a tongue. 
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