“Twas the night before Christmas, not a creature was stirring except for a huge pile of shortbread mice! My cat doesn’t know what to do and they are too cute for me to eat!

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It appears that I am compelled to make sweet creatures for every holiday. There are Bunny Breads at Easter, Spiders and Kitties at Halloween and now Mice for Christmas. I must admit baking all these family Christmas cookies got me thinking. What do I want the generations after me to remember about holiday traditions? Immediately I knew it had to be whimsical and cute confections and creations- something that really brings that *magical* element to the holidays – something that speaks to the child in all of us who still remembers how wonderful it is to be a kid during the Holidays.

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I saw these adorable cookies in a holiday baking book and I knew I had to try them out this year. If they were a success then I would make them every winter holiday season to bring joy and smiles to the faces of the people I love. Hope they make you smile!

Happy Holidays to everyone! I have so enjoyed meeting all of you through the blogosphere this year, it has been wonderful. I really wish all of you and yours the best and most joyous holiday season!

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INGREDIENTS:

3 cups all purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure almond extract
1 large egg

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Decoration:

small bag of sliced natural almonds
small bag of chocolate twizzlers, cut along the lines to make tails
3 oz. semisweet chocolate melted

METHOD:

Sift flour and salt together in a small bowl. In the large bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in almond extract. Beat in egg. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix on low speed. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing until just abut blended. Scrape dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap (it will be very crumbly, but will stick together when pressed) and cover completely with the wrap. Refrigerate until firm enough to roll into balls, at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll pieces of dough between palms of hands into 1 ¼ inch ovals. Slightly elongate on side to form a nose.

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Gently pinch bridge of nose to form eye sockets.

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Place 2 sliced almonds behind the eyes to make ears.

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Place mice 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

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Bake until light golden on bottom and around the edges – about 15 minutes. Place pans on racks and immediately insert a skewer into the mouse’s rounded posterior, going in about ½ inch. Remove skewer and insert piece of twizzler for a tail as far as it will go. It will wedge in and adhere to warm cookie.

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Once cookies have cooled, place melted chocolate into a parchment cone and snip a tiny opening. Pipe small chocolate eyes and a nose. Place in fridge until chocolate has firmed up.