Word of Caution regarding this post: if you are into sugary sweet, halloweeny or MILFy projects (or all the above!), keep reading, if not, thanks for subscribing, but you may as well skip this post.
So after making these simple Candy Corn Sugar Cookies I began rolling and cutting the dough for frosted sugar cookies. I've been using a Martha Stewart recipe for sugar cookies, which apparently is not even still on the web! Just noticed that the date on the top of the crinkled paper that lives in my recipe box is 12/04/05! Anyway, this recipe almost exactly the same-- just skip the milk or brandy and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Note that the recipe calls for you to refrigerate the dough before you roll it out, AND after you cut out your shapes before it goes back into the oven, but it's totally worth it...And Martha's right, if you don't refrigerate again before the oven, the edges get sloppy. When rolling out the the dough, I leave half in the fridge while I roll it out, otherwise it gets to soft and warm and makes it hard to transfer to cookie sheets.
I have an embarassingly large cookie cutter collection-- and I picked out pumpkins, witch hats, bats, cats, ghosts, leaves and acorns for this batch. I also was inspired by a bowl of candy corn which I had sitting on the table to make a candy corn shape, which I cut by hand using a sharp knife. I thought a full moon would go nicely with my bat and cat so I used the circular top of a drinking glass to make perfect circles.
After they are out of the oven (air on the side of underbaking- cakey cookies are better than crunchy ones) and cooled comes the fun part: decorating!! The royal icing I've been using with these cookies since 05 is this one from Williams-Sonoma. (It asks for a whisk attachment for a standing mixer, but I just use my hand mixer at high speed.) This icing recipe gives you enough to frost double the cookie recipe.
Once I make the bowl of icing, I usually start by frosting all all cookies I want to be white before I start throwing the food coloring in. The great thing about this frosting is it can be colored, but it also dries strong enough to hold whatever candies or toppings you may desire.
I'd never used toppings before, cause food coloring is pretty great, but I decided to experiment with chocolate sprinkles and tiny colored balls that I found at the grocery store. I poured the sprinkles into a low bowl (pasta bowl works) to increase the surface area of the sprinkles, and then just dipped the frosted cookies face down into the bowls. (Pretty much like rolling a ice cream cone in sprinkles.) Since it takes about an entire package of all food coloring to make really dark colored frosting, I decided to use chocolate sprinkles for my witch hats, bats and black cats.
Bat eyes are yellow M&Ms cut in half and stuck in the icing lengthwise after dipping in sprinkles.
To make the orange band on the witch hat, I stuck piece of paper over the that part of the frosting when I dipped the cookie in the sprinkles, and then carefully pressed the orange balls in the clean band of frosting with my hands--likewise for cat eyes. Warning: This requires patience and steady hands.
I was so into the results of the sprinkled cookies that I decided to further experiment-- I used yellow and orange mini balls to make some colorful fall leaves:
The stems on the little yellow one are made from carefully placed chocolate sprinkles...I like the look but it was WAY time consuming so I abandoned it after that one test-- if you're up for it, I recommend using tweezers.
Since the colors were so bright on these, I decided they would look awesome on candy corn cookies:
To make these, I first dipped the bottom of the cookie in yellow, and then lay the cookie flat and covered the tip and the yellow sprinkled part with paper and carefully sprinkled the white stripe remaining in the middle with orange sprinkles.
I also discovered that carefully placed chocolate sprinkles make excellent ghost eyes:
After this, it was time for frosting, old school style. I mixed up yellow and then added red food coloring for orange. I frosted a variety of pumpkins, acorns, leaves and candy corn with these colors:
Congrats if you made it this far....That's it for sugar cookies--stay tuned for tricks for the perfect Halloween Rice Crispy Treats!