Monday, October 29, 2012

Spooky Halloween Sugar Cookies & How to Ice Spider Web Cookies

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I have a confession and I don’t know if I dare admit it. I might be ridiculed. Ok, I’m just going to say it: I don’t really love Halloween. Don’t hate me! IMG_3788

There are a couple of reasons why it is my least favorite holiday. 1) I hate dressing up. I never have a costume until last minute and it always stresses me out. My uncle throws a big Halloween party every year with a theme, and I love those parties, but it always really stresses me out finding a costume. This year I couldn’t go because I moved across the country, but every one always goes all out on their costumes and its hilarious! I am just not that creative in the costume department and I don’t want to spend a lot of money. This year I had the occasion to dress up twice for two different parties and both times, my costumes we thrown together last minute. For my church Halloween party, I dressed up as Minion from Despicable Me and my husband was Gru. I thought it was such a great idea until I painted my face yellow and put on those round glasses. Once I was at the party, I felt totally awkward and dumb, probably because the paint on my face was dried really hard and I felt like I had cement on my face, because the overalls I was wearing were way to small, and because half the people thought I was Bob the Builder (I am not sure why, I guess because I was wearing blue overalls).

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2) I really don’t like gruesome, gory things. I am kind of squeamish. And I hate being scared. I hate watching scary movies and I hate going through haunted houses. I still have never seen the whole movie Hocus Pocus because, as a kid I was so scared of the witch ladies luring the kids to them with their creepy song that I would leave the room or turn the movie off. To this day, I have never seen it past that point and from what I hear, its not actually supposed to be a scary movie.

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Although I don’t love Halloween, I don’t hate it. It has three redeeming qualities that make it fun, in my book.
1)Candy. I love candy and it is an excuse for me to buy lots of candy. I have to be prepared for trick or treaters, but I always “accidentally” buy a little too much. 2) It’s the start of the pumpkin season. I love pumpkins. They make delicious food and they are so cute and round. Although it’s a pain and a mess, it is pretty fun to carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns. 3) I love making Halloween food! There are so many options for festive Halloween treats and snacks. This year I made pumpkin dump cake, mini pumpkin cupcakes with apple cider glaze and cream cheese frosting, pumpkin snickerdoodles, Jack-o-Lantern stuffed peppers, and my favorite…………..Spooky Sugar Cookies! I jump on any occasion to make sugar cookies. I think I may be obsessed! This batch was probably the most fun to make out of all the sugar cookies I have attempted. I don’t know why. I think it was the spider webs. They were so much fun to make and they look so cool! Today I’ll show you the technique to making these spider webs.

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Like always, I used my spiced sugar cookie recipe and rolled and cut them out. I rolled little balls out of the left over bit of dough to use as spiders for my webs. Then I made a batch of royal icing to the perfect thickness for piping on out lines. To see a full tutorial, click here.

Ingredients:

Brown Sugar & Spice Sugar Cookies

  • 3  cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices in a  bowl and whisk together

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and butter. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix until well blended.

3. Mix in the flour mixture a little bit at a time and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 

4. Roll out the dough into a disk between parchment paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 30 minute ( or speed it up in the freezer for about 10 minutes).  Roll it out on a lightly floured surface and use cookie cutters to make shaped cookies.

5. Lay cookies out on a baking sheet and refrigerate for another 10-15 minutes. This prevents them from spreading when they cook. Bake for about 10-12 minutes at 350 F. Let them cool before decorating.

Royal Icing-

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. pasteurized egg whites
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 C. powdered sugar

OR

  • 4 C. powdered sugar
  • 2 TBSP. Meringue powder
  • 5 TBSP water

Directions:

1.In the bowl of a stand mixer combine egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. (Or combine the meringue powder and water) Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix on low until the sugar is incorporated and the mixture looks shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. This took me about 6 or 7 minutes. It wont take as long if you are using meringue powder. Add water until you get the desired thickness. You want it thick and not runny, but easy enough to squeeze out of a bottle or piping bag.

ICING THE COOKIES:

Ok, now you know how to get your cookies and icing. Now is the fun part. You will probably want to plan out your cookies, especially if you are doing a couple different designs. I like to draw them out. Like this:

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Next, I separated out my icing in to different air-tight containers, one for each color. I tried to eyeball how much I would need for each color. I then decided which colors I wanted in a squeezy bottle and which ones I was going to use in a piping bag. This was my plan: White would get a squeeze bottle with a piping tip for outlining. I would then add water to the bottle and using the same bottle for flooding between the outlines. Once I was done with white, I would rinse it out and fill it with runny purple for my spider webs. I also used a squeeze bottle for my runny green for the spider webs. Everything else, got a piping bag. I love using the squeeze bottles, but I only have two.

TIP: Don’t color all of your frosting ahead of time. Do one color at a time. If you run out of a color, you can steal a little from other colors. Once you dye them all, you are stuck with what you have.

Next, pipe on the outlines of the cookies. Once they are dry, flood the cookies, popping any air bubbles with a toothpick. Save the spider web cookies for last. Once they are dry (it may take a few hours, to be safe), add all the embellishments that you want. To see a step by step tutorial of how to outline and flood with royal icing, click here.

TIP: When out-lining the cookies, it is easier for me to hold the tip above the cookies and let the frosting “fall” into place behind the tip. To do this, you need to have a consistent squeeze and a steady forward movement around the cookie. It looks better than if you hold the tip right next the the cookie.

HOW TO MAKE A SPIDERWEB PATTERN:

1. Start with a circle sugar cookie. Pipe an out line around the circle with black icing.

TIP: Mix a little bit of cocoa powder into the icing before adding the black food coloring. It will help the icing be a true black, rather than grey. You can also do this with red, to get a deeper red instead of a pink-ish red. Also remember, as the colors dry, they will get darker.

2. Once the outline is dry, thin out the black frosting so that it is runny. You will also need runny icing in two other colors. I chose green and purple. Fill two squeeze bottle with your two colors. I have one nice squeeze bottle with a piping tip attachment, but my other one is just a dollar store condiment bottle. They both work just fine for this design.

3. Flood the cookie with black. Immediately pipe a purple circle near the outside of the cookie, a green circle inside of that, and a purple dot in the center. You can use any colors in any order, you just need three circles of a color different from the back ground color.

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4. Drag a toothpick through the frosting from the center the outside of the cookie. Do this around the whole cookie as many times as you want. Let dry.

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5. Either pipe on little spiders, or make spiders out of little cookie balls that you bake with the rest of the cookies. Pipe on legs and eyes (my husband really wanted me to put 8 eyes on the spiders.Haha.) I decorated my spiders with homemade sanding sugar and round sprinkles. Let the frosting dry for a few hours before putting on the spiders.

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Happy Hauntings!

1 comment:

momA said...

Those all look fantastic. You are quite the food artist Amy!