What do skeletons say before eating?
This year I became obsessed with upping my game when decorating Halloween cookies. In a wild frenzy lasting several weeks, I pinned all kinds of cookie images, depicting every possible holiday/event, onto my “Decorated Cookies” Pinterest board (over 800 pins and counting). Then I began watching tutorials on best practices for piping and flooding royal icing.
So of course that prompted me to haunt (pun intended) the craft stores to enlarge my baking and decorating repertoire. My purchases included green, purple, orange and black food colorant, a variety of sprinkles, a coffin cookie cutter (already had a pumpkin, ghost, witch, and half moon), and a box of 100 tossable pastry bags. After all, when using numerous colors at once, who wants to keep cleaning out your pastry bag between each color?? Not me! Also needed, various pastry bag tips and plastic squeeze bottles for “flooding” the icing.
I was on a mission—much to the amusement of my husband Russ. My distribution plan was to give them out to a few neighbors who have young children aged 7 and under, and a platterful to Russ’ son David who now resides in a house with three other twenty-something males. And since Russ is on a wheat-free diet, we wouldn’t be keeping any at the house. Full steam ahead…
If you’re not familiar with making decorated sugar cookies, you need to know this is a 3-to-4 day process. First you mix the dough and let it refrigerate over night, then you roll out portions of the dough on a floured surface and cut out the shapes, baking them in a 400 degree oven. That’s the easy part. To decorate, you must pipe the outlines using stiff royal icing, followed by flooding the interior spaces with a thinned icing. It’s usually best to let them dry overnight before continuing with the detailed decorations.
But to me, that’s where the fun begins! I found it’s easiest when you have every color in both a pastry bag for piping and detail, and a squeeze bottle for flooding. However, I needed more tips in the same sizes, so another trip to the craft store is in order before the next holiday! And if you’re adding sprinkles, make sure to scatter them over wet frosting. But most importantly, DO NOT stack them on top of one another until completely dry. Better yet, when completely dry, stack them with a layer of wax paper between each tier in an air tight container. Remember, you can also freeze them.
When I first started this blog, I posted the sugar cookie recipe under the “Sentimental Favorites” tab, but I’m going to repost the ingredients and directions here in case you’re interested.
1 1/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
4 beaten eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
- Cream softened butter in mixer. Gradually add sugar.
- Add vanilla to beaten eggs and pour into creamed butter mixture.
- Sift flour with baking powder and salt, and add to mix master.
- If desired, add food colorant to dough.
- Make dough, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thick onto a pastry cloth or countertop sprinkled with flour.
- If you do this in sections, keep the unused portion in the frig.
- Place cut out cookies onto cookie sheet (you can line with parchment paper if desired.)
- Bake in oven for about 8 minutes, until just barely starting to brown underneath.
- Place cookies on rack to completely cool before decorating.
Here’s a link to the Royal Icing recipe by Wilton.
Many reviewers, including myself, add a teaspoon or so of vanilla or other flavored extract.
When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween.
Eat, drink and be scary!