Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ghostly Treats

On this coming Sunday, I will be helping our church with our annual Halloween Party. I will be dressed as a nice witch and helping with the toddler games. I really can't wait!  As a good witch I decided to make some treats for my cauldron. I thought about making spiders, but I was afraid the legs would brake off, so I settled on ghost cookies.

In the recent months I have found several blogs I absolutely adore.  One in particular, from Denmark, is fabulous and has so many great cookie and cake designs.  Browsing her tutorials, I saw the remarkable sugar cookies, that are decorated very nicely. She uses royal icing, pipes the border, then floods them. They are spectacular!!!

Flooding.....this brought me back to my days of the Wilton cake decorating classes I took in my 20's.  We learned how to flood, and honestly, I didn't like it. It was messy and I always got air bubbles.  Well, I read this particular guide on how to decorate cookies, and there seemed to be some useful tips.  I decided to give it a whirl.  To my surprise, the tips helped and the ghosts came out very cute and neat.

Three tips in particular helped me last night. The first was to use a hand mixer with the dough hook attachments to make the frosting. I don't know why this works, but it was a breeze. The second was to let the royal icing rest after thinning it for flooding, to let the air bubbles come to the surface.  Finally, putting the icing in a squeeze bottle gave me excellent control when flooding.

I'm going to give the link for the tutorial on working with royal frosting, as she does an excellent step by step guide. Also the sugar cookie recipe I am sharing is a basic shortbread recipe with a few twists. It's a recipe I have been given by a dear friend, but I changed a few things. The result is a cookie that holds up great for cutting out, but also has a tender texture.

Working With Royal Icing By The Cake Journal

sugar cookie recipe

3 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
2 eggs
1/2 cup powder sugar
1/2 cup sugar (i used vanilla sugar)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
3 3/4 cups of flour

Cream together sugar and butter until fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla, salt and flour. Mix until forms soft dough.  (do not over mix or the cookies will spread during baking). Divide into two discs, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least two hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll out dough on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out desired shape, place on greased cookie sheet, and bake 13 to 15 minutes, depending on size.  Don't over bake, the top of the cookie will be pale, but golden on the bottom.  Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

If you are cutting all the cookies at once, keep the sheets refrigerated until ready to bake. If the dough is too warm, it will spread and not hold its shape.

Decorate as desired. I used mini chocolate chips for the eyes on the ghosts. Get creative and fun with this!
tray full of ghosts

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