I'm shameless....these were also an auction item to raise money for United Way

October is my favorite month in St. Louis. It’s always lovely- not a lot of rain and the weekends are still warm enough for trips to the wineries or apple orchards. But the best of the Octobers are the ones when the Cardinals are in the playoffs. I have trouble keeping up during the regular season, but I love the postseason.

During the series with the Phillies, we all learned that we have a furry fan – the rally squirrel! So now St. Louis is squirrel crazy (although not nearly as crazy as the Friskies’ commercial with Puss in Boots – yikes!)

As a transplanted St. Louisan, I jumped on the rally squirrel bandwagon once I realized Kitchen Conservatory had squirrel and cardinal cookie cutters. So rally squirrel cookies are in order!

Gingerbread Cookies adapted from Simply Recipes

3 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

Mix butter and sugar in mixer until beaten. Add egg and molasses until combined.

In separate bowl, combine flour, soda, and spices. Gradually stir into liquid ingredients until combined.

Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Using some extra flour, roll out on a cutting board until 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies and place on cooking sheet lined with a silpat. Bake at 350 for 8 – 10 minutes or until a little crisp. Let cool on wire rack.

To make royal icing:
2 tsp meringue powder
4 cups powdered sugar
5 – 6 tbsp water

Slowly mix together sugar, water, and meringue powder. When combined, increase speed on mixer and beat for 8 – 10 minutes or until shiny. Separate icing into Tupperware to color using selected gel colors. Thin out with a little water until icing can be piped. If filling cookies, add more water to further thin remaining frosting. Pipe edges of cookies, then fill. Let dry about 30 minutes, then you can pipe decos.

The squirrels didn’t use much frosting, but the filled sugar cookies will use a lot. Recipe made 36 squirrels.

Go Cards!!!