Oops: The Mice Have Nibbled the Register Page

By Patricia Tennison



Something squirrely has messed with the Register page for Paris Cafe Writing. Or maybe it's the mice ...

If you filled out the Register page for one of the May, June, or November 2018 sessions, it’s possible that I didn’t receive the registration.  And I need to know how many glasses of champagne to line up for the welcome dinners!

When the page functions properly, you hit Submit and receive an automatic “Thanks for Registering” email, followed in a day or two by a personal email from me.

If you received neither, you will have to go back to www.ParisCafeWriting.com, click on Register, and again fill out and submit the form. Send me a quick email or phone call for confirmation.

I am sorry about this. My tech support is working on it. If you have any questions, write to me at info@ParisCafeWriting.com or call me at 773-525-2002.

(The mice in the photo are a test-batch I made this week for holiday cooking with my 3-year-old granddaughter. I got the recipe from a Chicago Tribune cookie contest. Below is the recipe—and a few tips from me. )

Happy Holidays!


Patricia Tennison

Director, Paris Cafe Writing




Chicago Tribune staff Contact Reporter


November 11, 2015.

Cute counts, as these Mexican mice cookies prove. They took second place in the Tribune's Holiday Cookie Contest in 2000. Their creator, Caryn Lerner, said she adapted cookies made from a Mexican wedding cake dough because her nieces and nephews wouldn't eat them. They changed their minds when the cookies reappeared in the shape of mice with mini-chocolate bits as eyes, almond slivers for ears and curly Chow mein noodle tails.

The recipe is excerpted from "Holiday Cookies," a collection of more than 100 recipes of winning cookies from 25 years of the Tribune's annual Holiday Cookie Contest. We are featuring a cookie per week, leading up to the Dec. 2 announcement of this year's contest winners, to mark the second printing of the book, which was published in 2014 by the Tribune with Surrey Books. The book is available for $17 at www.chicagotribune.com/holidaycookiesbook.


Prep: 1 hour Bake: 27 minutes per batch

Makes: About 3 dozen

Caryn Lerner took second-place in the Tribune's Holiday Cookie Contest in 2000.

2 sticks butter (1 cup), softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar plus more for dusting

2 cups flour

1 cup finely ground pecans

1/4 teaspoon salt

Chow mein noodles, mini-chocolate chips, sliced almonds

1 Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add sugar; beat until combined. Mix in flour, pecans and salt.

2 Shape dough into 1-inch ovals, tapering one end. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake, 15 minutes. Remove from oven; insert noodle at tail end and 2 almonds about 1/3 of the way from pointed end for ears. Return to oven; bake until slightly browned, about 12 minutes.

3 Remove from oven; immediately place two chocolate chips in front of ears for eyes. (Chocolate will melt slightly and stick to cookie.) Dust mice bodies with confectioners' sugar. Cool on wire rack.

Nutrition information per mouse: 100 calories, 7 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 14 mg cholesterol, 7 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 70 mg sodium, 0 g fiber


EXTRA MICE COOKIE TIPS From Patricia Tennison of Paris Cafe Writing

December 2017

1 Set the butter on the counter several hours or overnight to soften. Do not microwave or otherwise melt as it will affect the texture of the cookies.

2 When shaping the dough, taper well. The bodies don’t have to be perfectly smooth as they will smooth out while baking.

3 Before baking, have the decorations ready on separate plates:

(A) Select tails for interesting curls; one side needs to be straight to stay well inserted; very long ones tend to get hit and broken.

(B) Sort the sliced nuts to match pairs by size, shape, and color.

(C) Use tweezers to ready chocolate chips tip-side-up; use tweezers to place these “eyes” on cookies. (The chips will melt in your hands and/or smudge if you try to move them.)

4 Test your oven for timing. The first bake I do for only 14 (not 15) minutes. Otherwise, they are a little too crusty-firm for insertions.

5 Sprinkle the final confectioners' sugar after the cookies have cooled, maybe 10 minutes; otherwise, the sugar is absorbed and disappears.


Easiest chores for a 3-year-old helper:

Pick the tails

Level the sugar, flour, salt

Smell the vanilla

Early part of hand mixing

Shape the dough into balls

Insert tails? Cookie tin will be hot!

Tap a strainer of confectioners' sugar for that final touch






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