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Fossil Cookies

Know some hungry paleontologists? Let them dig into these artifacts. Food-safe plastic insects for making the imprints are available at

  • Yield: Makes 16
Fossil Cookies

Photography: SIMON WATSON

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 2010


  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • Salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pulse walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl, and whisk in flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

  2. Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla with a mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Gradually beat in walnut mixture.

  3. Divide dough into eighteen 1 1/2-inch balls, and press into irregular stone shapes using the palm of your hand; transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dust food-safe plastic insects with flour to coat; press into dough to make fossil impressions. Freeze until dough is very firm, 20 to 30 minutes.

  4. Bake until golden brown and firm in center, 25 to 28 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack, and let cool.

Reviews (6)

  • RobinDecker 29 Oct, 2011

    I made these cookies using a bag of Halloween characters I found at the dollar store. I washed them with anti-bacterial soap and let them air dry. They worked great and I had some scary skeleton, bug, spider, and snake cookies. Great, delicious, and fun recipe.

  • UlrictheUnleavened 28 Oct, 2011

    Oh, and you can also use shells, which are typically found as fossil imprints - Best Buy has a small bag for under $4!

  • UlrictheUnleavened 28 Oct, 2011

    I found a small plastic bag with a variety of insects at Party City; you have to look in the party favours section, not the Hallowe'en areas. I also made a couple of dinosaur "feet" to make footprint fossils by cutting the shapes out of a cross-sectioned potato, as you would for childcraft stamping/printing. This is a great, classy variation to the more obvious ghouls and graveyards decorated foods to bring to a Hallowe'en party - thanks, Martha!

  • homebear 29 Sep, 2011

    Found what look to be the same insects on Ebay for $6.95 (that's w/ shipping)--that'll save me time, energy, and gasoline--oooh, hope they're the correct size.....

  • homebear 29 Sep, 2011

    I must make them, too. I couldn't find the plastic insects on the craftforless site either so while running errands today I checked Michael's, JoAnn's, Big Lots, and Target, to no avail. Guess I'll try finding them elsewhere on line--oh, maybe a party store.... Why is everything a QUEST???

  • susanbakes 27 Oct, 2010

    I'm dying to make these for my paleontologist 3-yr-old, but can't find the "food safe plastic bugs" on createforless. Any ideas?

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