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Halloween Guide and Ideas

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Pumpkin carving tips for carving your Halloween Jack O' Lanterns.
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Halloween Guide and Ideas
 
Halloween Guide and Ideas

HALLOWEEN COOKIES TIPS & TIME SAVERS


To make your holiday baking enjoyable and not so much of a hassle, because we all know that we'd rather be enjoying time decorating the house or putting up that yard haunt, here's some tips to cut down on treat baking time.

COOKIES:
For making cookies, you can use or recipe below to make them from scratch or do the easier thing and buy a few bags for Pillsbury Sugar Cookie mix, which makes tasty cookies and requires a minimum of time to prepare.

Basic Butter Cookie Dough
This is the recipe that my mom used for making Christmas cookies every year. It's a butter cookie dough, it tastes wonderful and the cookies stay soft because of the butter. Do not substitute margarine or Crisco, use real butter! Hey, it isn't going to kill you if you eat these a couple times year. It sounds complicated to make but it's not. It's just a matter of mixing everything together properly.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 

Cream together the softened butter, sugar, vanilla and egg. Using a sifter, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in another bowl and set aside. Mix together the milk and vanilla and set aside.

Using a heavy duty mixer with a dough hook (or the regular mixing blades), start beating the first mixture of butter, sugar and egg. Slowly start adding in the flour mixture a little at a time. As it gets harder to mix, add the milk in a little at a time, too. This will make a thick dough and if your mixer isn't a heavy duty model, you may have to finishing mixing the four in by hand.

Divide into two sections and roll into large balls. Place into some form of air tight container, a zip-lock bag or the like. Refrigerate for 24 hours so the butter can harden.

The next day, take out one ball at a time and, on a floured surface, roll out using a rolling pin to a  desired thickness. Make sure to keep some flour handy to dust your hands with as the dough gets sticky the longer it's out of the fridge. These cookies will puff up a little when they bake so don't make them overly thick.

Using cookie cutters, cut out the desired shapes and place on a cookie sheet until filled. roll remaining dough into a ball, keep chilled until you roll the next batch.

Bake at 350 degrees F until light golden brown, usually ten minutes. Just keep checking them for a light golden brown color. Let cool and decorate.

FROSTING & ICING:
Homemade is always better but Wilton carries a whole line of Halloween colored decorating frosting, piping and flooding frosting that usually come in two packs. If you need to make your own colors, they also carry food color paste, which is better than liquid food coloring because it doesn't "water" down the frosting. They carry white icing and piping icing in cans to fix as needed as well. If you want to make your own, use the recipe below.

Butter Cream Frosting
This is a simple, ages old frosting that can be used on any cookie. It will set up a bit but keep the cookies separated because they can stick together. You can use paste type food color to color for your needs.

Ingredients:
1 stick or softened butter
4 cups white confectioners' sugar (about 1lb.)
1 teaspoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using a hand mixer, cream the butter, milk and vanilla extract together and slowly mix in the powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Separate into bowls and add the food color paste desired, mixing by hand until blended. Frost cookies as desired. Keep covered and refrigerated when not in use.

Royal Icing
Royal icing is a smooth, hard-drying icing that's perfect for decorating cookies. It is more durable and will last much longer than cake icing.

Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons Wilton Meringue Powder
4 cups confectioners' sugar (about 1lb.)
6 Tablespoons warm water
   Wilton Icing Color

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer). Recipe makes 3 cups. Keep all utensils completely grease-free for proper icing consistency. For a stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water. Mix in the icing color of your choice.

ICING TERMS:
Piping
Piping is when you use royal icing to make decorative outlines or borders before flooding them with a thinner version of royal icing. Using a #3 tip, rest the metal tip on the end of your index finger, and then push the icing out gently using pressure from your thumb.

Flooding
Flooding is when you want to fill or cover most of all of a cookie with a particular color of icing. This is usually done inside of a border made from royal icing (see piping above). For thinned Royal Icing add 1 teaspoon water per cup of royal icing. Add teaspoon water at a time until you reach the consistency you want. To ice the whole top of a cookie, pour a thinned down consistency of icing into a pastry bag and use with a #2 tip.

Sugaring
Sanding sugar is a type of sugar that is several times larger than granulated sugar. This is what makes it sparkle.

Halloween Cookie Cutters
You can find Halloween cookie cutter at mass market retailers during the Halloween season that come in a variety of ways. We've found nice metal sets by Wilton, other plastic cutters that come in a set of a dozen shapes and individual cutters, usually in the Halloween section of the store. For specialized cutters, like the ones below, check out the internet.


 

Tombstone Cookie Cutter
This copper Tombstone Cookie Cutter measures 3-1/4 x 4-1/2 inches and would make a great decorated treat on Halloween. Tombstone Cookie Cutter is 1-1/8 inches deep. Made by Copper Gifts.
Coffin Cookie Cutter
This spooky copper Coffin Cookie Cutter measures 2-1/2 x 5 inches and would make a great decorated treat on Halloween. Coffin Cookie Cutter will be 1-1/8 inches deep. Made by Copper Gifts.
Pumpkin Cookie Cutter
This copper Pumpkin Cookie Cutter (large with handle) measures 5-1/2 x 6 inches. This large pumpkin cookie cutter is 1-1/8" deep. Made by Copper Gifts.

 

 

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