From MOUNTAIN FLAVORS, a weekly column
by Marilyn Stein Underhill, published in
The Highlander, Highlands, NC


Punxsutawney Phil will give the world his annual wea­ther fore­cast next Friday, Feb­ru­ary 2, from Gob­bler's Knob in Punx­sutaw­ney, Penn­syl­vania.

Legend has it that on the morning of Febru­ary 2, if Punxsy Phil sees his sha­dow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If it cannot see its sha­dow, spring is on its way.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club was organ­ized in the 1880’s and con­tin­ues the fes­tivi­ties and has been doing so for one-hun­dred thirty years.

As an official Punxsutawney ambassador I take this hol­iday with a cer­tain amount of ser­ious­ness and a good amount of fun.

Punxsy Phil is the one and only weather forec­aster of im­por­tance. There are im­posters but Punxsy Phil is the only one of im­portance to those in the know. Beware of im­pos­ters.

The authentic groundhog-shaped crispy ginger­bread cookie recipe came from Elaine Light whose hus­band was a much loved Ground­hog Club pres­ident for many years. Elaine was the in­spir­ation for the highly suc­cessful Cooking with the Groundhog cookbooks. I have known and re­spect­ed Elaine and her late hus­band Sam since I was very young.

There is still time to order an authentic ground­hog cookie cutter from the sou­venir shop at the Punx­sutaw­ney Cham­ber of Com­merce. Their number is 1-800-269-0004. There is a small size and a larger size cookie cutter in ad­dition to many other ground­hog sou­venirs. I use the special Punxsy Phil nap­kins at my own parties.

During my teaching years my class would enter the class­room after lunch and I would sur­prise them with ground­hog cookies stand­ing on a square of ice-cream and sees his sha­dow of cho­co­late sauce. After twenty-five years most of the stu­dents knew that Feb­ruary 2 was a big hol­iday for me

If you do not have an official cookie cutter you can use a round cutter but it won’t real­ly be the same. Bon appétit and Happy Groundhog Day.

Groundhog Cookie Recipe

(from Elaine Light)

  1. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices together. Set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Blend in molasses and egg yolk.
  4. Stir in flour mixture and mix well. Form into a ball.
  5. Wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap.. Chill overnight.
  6. Work with small amounts of dough at a time, topped with wax paper.
  7. Roll dough 1/8-inch thick. Remove wax paper.
  8. Cut out cookies with a lightly floured cookie cutter.
  9. Place cookies on a greased sheet. Brush lightly with slightly beaten egg.
  10. Give each groundhog cookie a currant or raisin for an eye.
  11. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.
  12. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet.
  13. Makes 12-15 large or 3-4 dozen small cookies.
  14. Put cookies in a sealed container with a slice or 2 of bread to soften, if desired.