I love Halloween because it is so much fun when we are children (my kids were obsessed with what they would wear and who they would go trick-or-treating with) and it brings out the kid in adults like nothing else will. I can’t think of Halloween without conjuring up a mental picture of my very dignified, conservative and reserved parents hosting a Halloween party back in the ’90’s dressed as Raggedy Ann and Andy…such a great memory.
Last August my friend, Michael Lee West, invited a small group of bloggers to participate in THE MYSTERY INGREDIENT CLUB on her blog, Rattlebridge Farm. It was so much fun waiting for the mystery ingredients to arrive, using them in recipes and then writing a post about them for FOODIE FRIDAY , a weekly blogging party hosted by ML. For this second MIC I received a colorful assortment of Creepy Sprinkles that immediately put me in Halloween mode. I found the very clever idea for these Swirly Halloween Cookies at Make, Bake, Celebrate and I’ve been saving it for an occasion like this. I love these whimsical cookies. Just a hint: they take time to assemble but they freeze perfectly.
Use your favorite sugar cookie dough recipe or try the one at the bottom of this post. I prefer a recipe without baking powder because I don’t want the cookies to puff up during baking. Use food color gels for the best color intensity and be careful to work on parchment paper so the dough doesn’t stain your work surface. My cooking island has a butcher block top and I learned the hard way that food coloring isn’t its friend.
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, then chill it for several hours. Make a small indentation in the dough balls and add food coloring gel, a little at a time, (I used a toothpick) until you achieve your desired color. These colors are intense so go slowly. I used green, black and purple. I didn’t have orange dye so combined some red and yellow and got the color I wanted. Go ahead and knead the color into the dough with your hands. It will stain countertops but it won’t stain skin. I was skeptical but it didn’t stain my hands.
Divide the dough into little balls about the diameter of a nickle. If you weigh the four portions of dough before you add the food color you will end up with close to the same number of little balls of each of color. If the dough becomes too soft to handle any time during this process just stick it back in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up. When all the little balls are formed combine one of each color and gently roll it into a little ball…like a teeny basketball. Then with the flat of your hands roll the multicolored ball of dough into a rope about 8″ long. Loosely coil the rope into a circle. If the end of the roll is a little funky just trim it with a small knife.
I added a few purple jimmies to the test tube mix because I like purple and wanted it to be one of the colors in the cookie. When I was ready to coat the edge of the cookies with the sprinkles I moistened the edge with a tiny drop of water to help them stick. Carefully pick up the cookies and roll them in the jimmies. If the cookies look misshapen just gently press them back into shape with your finger.
Aren’t these some of the darn cutest Halloween cookies you have ever seen? It’s the colors and the sprinkles that make them fun. I was going to add some lollipop sticks to some and make little cookie pops but I ran out of sprinkles before I got to that stage. I know I will be making these cookies again before HALLOWEEN so will do it then.
I remember the days when the moms on our street made little treats for all the trick-or-treaters who came to their doors…cookies, popcorn balls, fudge…but those days are long gone. The number of kids who come to my door decreases every year and I’m sure that soon there won’t be any at all. When my kids were little and I knew all the neighbors I handed out little cups of hot spiced wine to the parents. They needed a little treat too! Those days are definitely over…
This post is linked to FOODIE FRIDAY at Rattlebridge Farm. Stop by for a visit to see how others used their mystery ingredient.
Thank you so much, Michael Lee, for hosting the MYSTERY INGREDIENT CLUB.
- 1 cup (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups (420 g) all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the butter and sugar together until just incorporated
- Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix well on low speed.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture. Mix on low until speed until well combined.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- When ready to use let the dough stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Form into desired shapes and bake at 350 degrees until set but not browned.