Halloween cookies (better late than never)

I made these for a pumpkin carving party a few weekends ago (ya I know more than a few). Please excuse the bad photos, I was late getting out the door and my two year old was not helping. So they basically got thrown on the counter and I took a few shots with my phone. One day I will get a real camera.

I actually had a lot of fun with the cookies this time. I learned a lot from my attempt last time and with some more research the process went very smoothly. Now, no matter how organized you are its just a very time consuming project. I do believe it took me longer to make and get the frosting ready and assembled than to actually decorate the cookies!

I used a new technique for rolling out the dough that I read about, it made the process go beautifully. I rolled it out right out of the mixing bowl between two sheets of wax paper (it suggested parchment but I was out and that stuff can get pricey) then popped the flat disks into the freezer. It made for some wonderful sharp edged cookies! I always have a problem getting them to the cookie sheet looking good and this made it simple. When I got enough scraps to make a new ball I just rolled it out again and popped it in the freezer while I cut out or baked the rest. It went incredibly fast, which made me happy because it’s my least favorite part of making these cookies.

The decorating goes very fast if you have it all prepped. Flood colors where in squeeze bottles and the piping colors in their bags with tips on. My piping ability has greatly improved over the last few months and it really helped them look cleaner. My daughter just loved the witches (she has a thing for the bad witch) but my favorite were the pumpkins, they are classic.

Witches outlined.

Lemon and Vanilla Bean White Sugar Cookies
Adapted from: Anne’s Eats
Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg
2½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or I use Vanilla bean paste about 1 TBS)
Zest of half a lemon
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, seeds scraped from the vanilla bean or paste, and lemon zest until blended. Mix in the flour and salt on low speed just until incorporated. Form the dough into a ball and press between two sheets of parchment or wax paper, roll to desired thickness and pop into the freezer for 30 minutes. (You could make this ahead and totally freeze the dough, just let it defrost until pliable, I actually used the dough when it was quite frozen and it worked wonderfully.
After rolling, preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpads. Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking, until fully cooked but not at all browned. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Royal Icing
Adapted from Anne’s Eats
Ingredients:
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water
Directions:
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).
To find everything you could ever need to know about cookie decorating check out this website and link:
http://bakeat350.blogspot.com/2009/04/royal-icing-101work-for-me-wednesday.html

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