WHITE GORILLA SUGAR COOKIES
Generations of Safgainians have celebrated White Gorilla Day with the exchanging of White-Gorilla-themed baked goods.  What better way to get in the mood for the day than to make some of your own? 

Even if you don't celebrate White Gorilla Day, here are a few tips on how to make your animal-shaped cookies just a little bit special.


Before you can bake sugar cookies in the shape of White Gorillas, you're going to need two things: sugar cookie dough and a gorilla-shaped cookie cutter.  And a little extra flour, to keep the cookie dough from sticking to whatever you cut them on.  And a rolling pin, maybe.  And a cookie sheet or two.  And some white sugar, to sprinkle on top of the cookies before you bake them.  And an oven.  And a wire cooling-rack or two.  And a thin pancake turner or something to get the cookies off the hot cookie sheet and onto the wire cooling rack.  And some hot-mitts so you don't burn yourself while you're trying to do that.  And a toothpick.  Don't forget the toothpick. 
 SUGAR COOKIES
1 Cup Butter or Margarine*
1½ Cups Sugar
3 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla or lemon Extract
3½ Cups Sifted Flour
2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1 tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp. Salt

Cream butter or shortening.  Add sugar gradually, creaming till light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Stir in vanilla.  Sift dry ingredients together.  Add gradually to creamed mixture.  Chill thoroughly (3-4 hours).  Roll on well-floured surface to 3/16".  Cut into desired shapes with floured cookie cutters.  Sprinkle with sugar and bake on ungreased or lightly greased cookie sheet in moderate oven (375°F) 6-8 minutes.  Cool slightly on cookie sheet; finish cooling on a wire rack.
* Shortening makes for a crisper cookie

Sugar Cookie Dough
You can buy sugar cookie dough in the refrigerated section of the supermarket, or you can make your own.  Here's my wife's sugar cookie recipe, the one we use when making White Gorilla Cookies.  I'm not yet an experienced cookie maker, but I've included links to a glossary to explain some of the terms to others who are not fluent in recipe-ese.  Note that it takes several hours to mix and chill the dough before the rolling, cutting, marking, sugaring, and baking takes place.

A Gorilla-Shaped Cookie Cutter
Yes, there are gorilla cookie cutters out there!  I bought a small set of Wilton animal cookie cutters on eBay that includes a gorilla, an elephant, a hippo and I forget what others.  Some of the other gorilla cookie cutters out there make cookies with somewhat thin parts.  These I avoided, afraid the thin parts would overcook.  After all, we're not celebrating Crispy Brown Gorilla Day now, are we?  Oh, OK, since it's White Gorilla Day, you can celebrate it any way you want to.  That's how a 900-pound White Gorilla would celebrate it! 

Here's a few ideas to try when making White Gorilla (or any other animal) shaped cookies.  Before you bake them:


So you went and bought a whole set of animal cookie cutters just to get the gorilla.  Now what are you going do with all those other animals?  Well . . . 

You can use the elephant for pink or white elephants, but as far as I know, no one makes gray decorating sugar.  Come to think of it, making a white elephant cookie to mix in with the White Gorilla cookies is a very White-Gorilla-Day kind of thing to do! 

The Hippo is seasonal at Christmas time, providing the recipient is familiar with the song I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.  Try an uneven mix of pink and purple sugar for an authentic color.

If your school's mascot is one of the other animals, you can bake cookies for the annual bake sale.

If your arch-rival school's mascot is one of the other animals, you can bake cookies and then bite their heads off.


Glossary

Cup:  Two sticks of butter equals one cup.

Cream:  verb  Mix together briskly.

Vanilla:  I strongly suggest you do not measure extracts over the mixing bowl, but over some other container, you will be washing out anyway.  Extracts tend to come out of the bottle suddenly all at once and overflow the spoon.

Add gradually  Add dry ingredients about a cup at a time.  Use the slowest mixer speed you have, to avoid flinging flour all over the immediate area.  If the dough seems too sticky to work with, you could add another Tablespoon or two of flour.  At some point it is advisable to stop the mixer, scrape the beater and the sides of the bowl, then continue mixing, to make sure there is no unmixed flour.

Chill thoroughly Scrape the dough off the beaters and sides of the bowl into one lump in the bottom of the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator.