You’re only six ingredients away from super cute crisp and rich buttery shortbread Rilakkuma bear cookies hugging a nutty almond heart.
A couple of years ago (maybe even like five years ago!?) there were these super cute cookies floating around the internet. They were little bears hugging nuts. I exploded from the cuteness then proceeded to file the idea away for a rainy day. To be honest, I have a huge list of things to make that I never get around to. Does anyone else do that? I have so many pin on my board labeled “to make” and I have so many saved instagram posts. I know that I’ll never get to all of them in this lifetime.
But I managed to make these! I love these little guys. Cute and tasty all in one! I guess partially the reason why I didn’t make the bears is because I wanted to get a bear cookie cutter with long arms. I read a bunch of blog posts by people who have made the bears and the long arms are essential. I will even go so far as saying, if you have a regular bear cookie cutter with short arms, don’t even bother making these. The short arms won’t hug the nuts enough and then you’ll just have bears with almonds stuck in the middle.
I found my long arm bear cookie cutter in Tokyo. It’s Rilakkuma cutter! Do you know Rilakkuma? The lazy bear that loves eating snacks and relaxing? He’s super cute and I squealed silently so hard when I saw the cutters. The turned out better than I dreamed! Their little faces didn’t melt away in the heat of the oven and only one bear released his paw off of his almond.
A couple of tips for making these guys:
- Make the dough the night before. This is a classic shortbread dough and it needs to chill in the fridge, preferably overnight so that everything can meld together. Overnight in the fridge helps harden up the butter again so your cut outs don’t spread.
- Cut out all the cookies, place the almonds on, then fold their arms in. The dough, when it’s cold, will want to break instead of folding nicely, so letting everything sit out until it’s pliable is a good idea.
- Chill. No really, chill! If you have the time, pop the cookies back in the fridge so they can chill out and stay super cold so they don’t melt into blobs in the oven.
These little cookies are buttery and crisp and the epitome of shortbread. The little almond friend adds a hint of nuttiness that pairs nicely. Super addictive, cute, and perfect for gifting to that bear-y special person in your life.
PS – Here’s a link to the cookie cutter I used!
Rilakkuma Bear Hugging Almond Shortbread
Serves 12 cookies
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 35 mins
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup all purpose flour
In the bowl of a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to beat the butter on low speed until smooth. Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix until creamy and smooth. Add the flour and mix on low speed until everything just comes together.
Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Once the dough is chilled, unwrap and place on a sheet of parchment paper and cover with a second sheet of parchment. Roll to 1/4 inch thick.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut out the cookies and place on the lined baking sheet. Carefully wrap the almonds with Rilakkuma’s arms and press firmly but not so firmly that the arms break. Chill in the fridge while you heat the oven to 350°F.
Bake until just golden around the edges, about 10-12 minutes. Let cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.