by Caitlin Saniga
Let me just say that this recipe took a lot of work. I started making my own groundhog-shaped cookie cutter from a pop can Friday morning and mixed up the cookie dough that afternoon. I made the pudding and baked the cookies on Saturday morning, whipped up the whipped cream that afternoon and finished the assembly in the evening. By the time I dipped in my spoon for the first taste, I darn well deserved it.
Was it worth it? To me, yes. The cookies were delicious, the pudding was a culinary challenge I can now cross off my list, and whipped cream is always best when made from scratch. Could I have taken shortcuts? Ooooh, yeah.
For starters, I could have bought a groundhog cookie cutter like this or decided on some other shape to use, like a circle. I could have skipped making my own gingerbread altogether and found some kind of premade cookie at the grocery store (Maybe Nutter Butters?). I certainly could have saved myself some nail-biting if I’d just used an instant pudding mix. And store-bought whipped cream almost seems like a no-brainer. Will I hold it against you if you don’t make everything from scratch? Of course not! I’m the idiot who thought making this dessert for two days straight sounded like a good idea.
But if you’re up to the challenge, I’ve summed up every step you need to know to make these Groundhog Day pudding cups from scratch. Shall we begin?
Groundhog cookie cutter
*Note: Making your own cookie cutter can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Don’t use dull blades, and handle the metal, which is very sharp, with care.
- a clean aluminum soda can
- a very sharp knife with a pointed tip and flat blade (I used a paring knife.)
- a pair of scissors
- a ruler
- a permanent marker
- a stapler
Cut off the top and bottom of the aluminum can with a knife. Watch your fingers, and start each cut with a stab of the point.
Use scissors to make a vertical cut along the length of the open cylinder. You’ll be left with a curled sheet of metal.
Carefully flatten the metal with one hand, reinforcing it with a ruler parallel to the long edge. Use a marker to trace a line along the ruler. Draw a parallel line about 1/2 inch from the first one.
Use scissors to cut along the lines you’ve drawn. Be as precise as possible to ensure clean cuts into your cookie dough later. You’ll be left with a curled strip of metal.
From there, bend the strip into the outline of a groundhog, leaving about 1/2 inch excess at the end of the strip. Hard creases may tear the aluminum, so soft bends are best. Use the excess of the strip to overlap with the other end, and staple it to close the shape.
Makes 1 cookie cutter.
I started the dough for these a day early. See the recipe I used here.
- 6 cookies for groundhog garnish
- 1 1/2 cups crushed cookies, or 10-12 cookies, for “dirt”
For the groundhogs, I used a toothpick to poke holes for eyes after the cookies had baked and set.
I placed a lot of faith in Smitten Kitchen for this one. Didn’t make too many tweaks except for the type of milk, which I switched to skim (and it worked just fine!). We don’t normally do this, but I’m going to direct you to SK’s blog post and advise you to read the recipe 2 or 3 times, assemble your ingredients and take some deep breaths before you start.
Don’t even think about stepping away from the pot once you start! Your diligence will pay off!
Recipe: Smitten Kitchen
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a whisk, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat on high until a semi-firm consistency is reached, about 3 minutes.
Pudding cup assembly
With your pudding already chilled in 6 lowball glasses, sprinkle 1/4 cup crushed gingerbread cookies into each glass. Top with whipped cream and wedge a groundhog cookie into each cup.
Serve and enjoy!