I love decorating cookies, but my ban on sugar means I get to do it only on especial occasions, such as Christmas and Halloween, and therefore when the time comes I tend to go a bit nuts, baking a million cookies at a time and splattering icing all over the place.
I’m not ashamed to say (or am I?) that I have embraced Halloween wholeheartedly. It is such a fun celebration! Carving pumpkins, decorating the house, making spooky cookies and desserts. The child inside me really loves it 🙂
These cookies are shortbread, which keeps its shape really well when baking, and therefore makes for an excellent base for the cameo cookies which might have otherwise just turned into an awful blob when baked. Gingerbread men are more forgiving…
The “stitched” look means that you can pretty much take any shape of cutter you have and by giving the cookie a couple of stitches make it spooky. Like a stitched, bleeding heart, for instance.
I have also discovered that a bell-shaped cookie cutter makes very good ghosts . Just use the rolling pin to stretch the bells into ghosts:
Ingredients for 25 (big) cookies
200 grs plain flour
40 grs fine semolina
80 grs caster sugar
160 grs butter, chilled and cut into cubes.
1 pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of cold water
Zest from 1 orange.
Quite easy actually!
1.- Place the flour, salt and semolina in a bowl. Add the butter.
2.- With your fingers rub the flour into the butter until you get quite a grainy/sandy mixture.
3.- Add the zest and the water and then use your hands to press everything together into a dough. Add a bit more water if you think you need to. It is going to be a crumbly dough.
4.- Wrap in film and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
5.- After an hour, take the dough out and roll into a floured surface or a surface covered in baking paper.
Roll it to 1/2 cm thick and cut your cookies. Before baking, place the cookies in the fridge for 1 hour (or the freezer for 20 minutes) that way they will better keep their shape.
For the Royal Icing
250 grs icing sugar
1 egg white
Lemon juice (1 teaspoon approx).
1.- Place the egg white, sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a bowl and whisk until its glossy and you can form soft peaks on the mixture. Note: Depending on the size of your egg white you might need to add a bit more lemon juice to get the desired consistency.
2.- Divide into as many colours as you are going to use and add the food colouring. I bought Dr. Oetker colouring, and they are not very good, it took a lot of colouring to get a decent shade of red, and I never managed to make black icing at all, it never went any darker than grey. So if you can buy another brand, do.
Then place the royal icing on piping bags. One way to do this easily is by placing the piping bag on a glass and then filling it, this way you are free to work with both your hands. Check minute 2:27 of this Rachel Khoo video where she shows how to do it:
3.- Now, once the cookies are cold you can start decorating them. Place everything you are going to need on your working surface.
You can start by doing all the details of the same colour, I started with white. Then move on to the next colour, this way you prevent your icing from hardening on the piping bags through exposure to the air.