Tag Archives: halloween

Happy Halloween: Cookie Edition

1 Nov

Some people meditate. Others paint along with Bob Ross. Me, my self-prescribed therapy is making and decorating sugar cookies. I’ve always appreciated beautifully decorated sugar cookies. As I kid, I remember one of my favorite parts of any holiday prep and anticipation was rifling through my Mom’s cookie cutter collection. President’s Day cookies? Bust of George Washington and axe cutouts, check.

While I always loved making and decorating sugar cookies, I was a novice. I only started my way to mastering the art with the guidance of my friend Eric. You see, there are sugar cookies…and then, there are *Eric’s sugar cookies.* I had only seen the type of cookies that Eric would make in magazines. Glossy magazines. And how lucky was I that he took me under his little sugarcrafting wing and taught me his art? Very.

I enjoy every part of the process. And it IS quite a process: usually a three day one. I make the cookie dough on day one, day two is reserved for baking, and then, I finally decorate the shapes on day three. Sometimes, there is a day four: when the cookies call for packaging, either individually cello wrapped, or in boxes with clear plastic covers. Oh, and bows. Lets not forget bows.

I like the almost zen state that I enter when I decorate. I like the solitude. I like the meticulous nature of the work. I like the process of creativity. I like the steps taken to make these beautiful little works of art out of staples found in my kitchen. I dig the whole thing.

Cookie making is a passion. Wait, truth be told (if that last paragraph is telling in any way), it’s really a bit of a compulsion. Along with the praise and delight elicited when I give people my final products, my gifts have also been met with quiet disdain and not-so-faux mocking. I am called “Martha Stewart”…and this is not meant to be “a good thing (TM).” I think people feel like I have spent entirely too much time on something that will be consumed. And to be honest: they are super annoyed. I get it. I see the eyes rolling. I feel a strange guilt. I have been told that I am crazy. (Well, they could be on to something there, but, that’s for another post.)

Usually the negative nellies come around after they realize my cookies are meant to make other people happy, not make them feel like less of a baker or mother because they don’t go nuts like I do. We are united in our joy after they take their first bite. They get over it. I confess that I think they are crazy people for their copious knitting projects! We hug. We bond over our obsessions that others judge. We share recipes. We laugh over people that have taken up a mid-life roller derby crisis. We talk about never really liking the movie “The Polar Express.” We are united in cookies!

One of my favorite holidays for cookie making is Halloween. Silly, fun, bright, and overall awesome for treats. The last few years I have been doing the same designs. I order many of my cutters online (www.thelittlefoxfactory.com and www.thecookiecuttershop.com) and have bought them at my local bake shop, Make-A-Cake. I use a really simple cookie recipe (substituting one cup of butter with butter flavored Crisco), and always use Martha Stewart’s recipe for royal icing. Here are my Halloween cookies…look out for the next holiday, it’ll be equally as insane.

Yours in crazy cookie making,


Spooky Halloween Soup!

30 Oct

Leaves are falling, the sweet smell of burning wood is making its way up chimneys and wafting throughout the neighborhood, the kids are all hopped up on sugar from the 17 parties they have attended while dressed up as giant hot dogs: yup, must be Halloween time.

Along with Halloween comes the beginning of soup season. Soup season is a frame of time that runs concurrently between the months of October and March. Not that soup can’t be enjoyed outside of soup season, but it seriously helps.

Why not make some chicken noodle soup and add a special little touch for Halloween: spooky cutout dumplings.

Start with a basic broth. I boiled a few chicken breasts in a pot with bouillon, carrots and onions. Next add some noodles. Barilla makes these cool little noodles like the kind you find in those little Mrs. Grass chicken soup boxes.

Next make the dumplings. I put 6 eggs, 3 cups of flour, salt, and some Italian seasoning into a food processor and mixed using the dough hook. Add flour until you get a piece of dough you can easily roll out. You don’t need a food processor for this step, but it definitely helps.

After you make the dumpling dough, roll it out onto a floured surface (to about 1/4 inch thickness).

Next, you’ll need some miniature cookie cutters. These cutters are also used to cut decorative pieces for pie crusts. I used ghosts for this particular soup. If you don’t have cutters, you can cut a few out by hand, but it’s not going to be easy.

After you cut a bunch of ghouls out, put them into the boiling soup.

We also put the “extra” dumplings parts into the soup (the large “holey” pieces left over from cutting out the little dumpling shapes) and pull them out to eat separately. My kids especially love to eat these pieces (see below).

Let the dumplings boil for about 2 minutes; they’ll be done when they float to the top of the soup.

The kids really enjoyed helping to make the little ghost cutouts and they loved to eat the finished soup. This “spooky” soup would be a nice dish to serve at a little Halloween get together for friends and family or a meal for the kids before trick-or-treating.

Enjoy your spooky Halloween soup!

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