I have always loved Domo.
Domo is the mascot for NHK, one of Japan's broadcasting television stations in Japan. He's brown, furry, and looks like he would be mean (those teeth!), but in fact he's quite endearing and not scary at all. Domo loves Japanese potato and beef stew but hates apples, due to something about his DNA. Domo originally cracked from an egg and lives in an underground cave with a rabbit (Mr. Usaji) and his friends. He became popular when he appeared in a series of shorts shown on television in 1998 in honor of NHK's 10th anniversary.
Although I've made countless versions of Totoro, Keroppi, and Hello Kitty, I've only made Domo once in food form - as hamburgers a couple years ago.
I've been wanting to make Domo as a cookie for awhile now. Ever since I saw Diamonds for Dessert make Domo into sandwich cookies, I've been trying to think of a way to make a Domo cookie that looks 3D instead of flat.
After much brainstorming, I finally came up with a way that seems to really accentuate Domo's huge open mouth yet still keep him looking cute, the way he should be.
To put a slight twist on the traditional chocolate cookie, I spiced up the batter by adding some chili powder and a touch of cinnamon, similar to Mexican chocolate. After all, a Domo cookie should have some kick, right?
Although this recipe is not difficult, it does require some time. In order to get the best performance from your cookie dough, you need to refrigerate it so that it's cold. It's much, much easier to work with this dough when it's a bit cold.
Working fast, cut out the Domos with a rounded square cutter. I actually didn't have a cookie cutter this shape, but I did have a random tiny plastic storage container that happened to be just about the right size. Of course, you can easily buy rectangular cookie cutters or cookie cutter sets that will work. I just didn't plan ahead and had to be resourceful with what I had at home.
In half of the Domos, cut out a mouth using a tiny rectangular cookie cutter. Of course, I didn't have any on hand. You can easily make cookie cutters by cutting up some plastic from the top of a take-out container, which is what I did. The benefit of making your own is that you can cut it to be exactly the right size. The negative, of course, is that the plastic cutter is flimsier and won't cut as cleanly.
Nevertheless, I was able to make do and cut out several Domo mouths successfully.
For best results, freeze the first half of the already completed cookies while you cut the other half. This prevents the first batch from losing its shape or warming up too much.
Bake until slightly crispy and browned on the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
There are many ways to start decorating. For my birthday, my friend have given me black edible ink markers and colored edible ink markers, which are great for decorating. Of course, if you'd rather not use artificial coloring in your baking, you can consider making jam based Swiss "linzer" style cookies, which I'll show below.
In order to have Domo's mouth show through boldly, we will "paint" a layer of white chocolate onto the bottom Domo cookies (the ones that do not have a mouth cut-out).
White chocolate is tricky to melt, so definitely watch it carefully. You can melt white chocolate in the microwave in small spurts. First, heat for 1 minute at 50% power. Then heat in 30 second increments at 50% power until the chocolate just starts to become soft. It may still look solid when it's read, but poke at it with a fork. It should sort of collapse and become easily stirrable when it's ready.
It took me about less than 2 minutes total to get it soft enough so I could swirl it around and spread it.
If I had a paintbrush, I would have used it. Unfortunately, I did not have one, so I used a fork, which works OK, but the resulting surface is not as smooth as it would be with a paintbrush.
Although you can paint the entire length of the cookie, you can also just paint in the area over the mouth (see half-painted one at the bottom), if you don't love the flavor of white chocolate.
Place a cookie with a mouth over the white chocolate side in order to see how to draw out the teeth. Using a red colored edible ink marker, draw an outline of the teeth.
Remove the cookie and fill in the red part of the mouth. Draw on the eyes using a black edible ink marker.
Assemble and serve!
On top I made a few jam "linzer" style cookies. The traditional Swiss linzer cookie is a shortbread sandwich cookie with jam peaking out of a "window". In this case, the jam is peaking out of Domo's mouth.
Although you don't have to paint the jam cookies with white chocolate, I found that the white background made the jam look much brighter red than when you just spread the jam directly on top of the dark chocolate cookie.
I think both Domos are cute, though obviously the one with teeth looks more authentic. If you're up for it, you can always try forming teeth out of white chocolate to add to the jam version. I tried cutting white chocolate into teeth, but it was too hard to shape it so precisely.
Maybe I need to buy a teeth chocolate mold or a zig zag cutter!
Chili Chocolate Domo Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or other chili powder)
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 oz white chocolate (½ of a 4-oz bar)
Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, and chili powder.
Cream butter and powdered sugar together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat to combine. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until just combined.
Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or overnight).
Between pieces of wax paper, roll out one disk of dough to just under ¼ inch thick. Optionally transfer to a baking sheet; freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Cut out "Domos" using a large rectangular cookie cutter. Using a small square cookie cutter, cut out "mouths" from half the Domos. Optionally freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
Bake cookies until crisp, about 8 minutes, firmly tapping down sheets once and rotating them halfway through. Let cool completely on wire racks. Note, I used a convection toaster oven for this step, which worked just fine.
Melt white chocolate in the microwave in small spurts. Heat for 1 minute at 50% power. Then heat in 30 second increments at 50% power until it's a bit jiggly. It took me about less than 2 minutes total to get it soft enough so I could swirl it around and spread it.
Paint the melted white chocolate onto the flat Domo "bottom" half pieces. Let dry completely.
Using edible-ink markers, draw teeth designs onto the white chocolate with a red marker. Color in his mouth. Alternatively, spread a small amount of a red fruit jam (e.g., raspberry, strawberry) onto the area where his mouth would be.
Place the Domo cooke half with the mouth cut-out on top.
For fun, you can take the mouth cut-out cookies and make baby Domos (see above). In that case, I just cut out tiny rectangle white chocolate pieces and drew the teeth on directly.
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