This month’s cooking club were looking for ideas and well, I’m an ideas sort of woman. The problem is, I often suggest things that I have no clue how to do.
I say this because I have never decorated cookies other than to sprinkle some sugar or add an m&m. I looked up my trusty friend Martha and then About.com who gave me a recipe for the sugar cookies that they said would be perfect for Halloween cookies. It would be perfect if I lived in the Northern Hemisphere in October.
It’s summer down here and well, the wonderfully crispy and delicious cookies were fine until I flooded them and had to leave them out to dry. Now they’re still tasty cookies but all the crunch went away with the summer rain we had all day yesterday.
I made the royal icing and while it’s not my favorite, it came out really good. I hadn’t thought about how difficult it was going to be to get a really black icing. I used gel but I think I’d try a powder color next time.
Honestly, if someone else had suggested decorating cookies I would have cursed them. What a job! By the time I got the cookies flooded (and the kitchen covered in black icing) it was 11pm. This morning I got up and looked at them and said, “where did all those bubbley things come from??” I arghed. a lot. I wasn’t going to make them again for this post. I love you, but not that much. I’m still digging the black color out of my fancy new fingernails.
On another note, a few weeks ago I registered my interest in the Human Brochure campaign by the Visit Canberra tourism group. The promo was that they were looking for 500 people from around Australia who use social media to come to Canberra as their guest and then blog, Facebook and Twitter their experience. It also asked if you wanted to bring someone along with you so I added John.
Imagine my surprise when I was selected in the food category. They wrote and told me that I’d been chosen to attend on the 26th of October. Now we all know how much people earn from blogs (nothing) and that doesn’t cover flights, accommodation nor food, so I ignored it. I do get a lot of email but I should have replied.
I had a really crap week and imagine my surprise when the tourism office called and said, “aren’t you coming??” I said, “uhh, I really can’t afford it.”
Then she said, “Maureen it’s all expenses paid, flights, accommodation and food for you and John,” won’t you change your mind? So we’ll be in Canberra on the 26th and I’ll be a human brochure and tell you all about it.
Now about these cookies. I’m going to put my recipe in but don’t make these on a damp day or you’ll be disappointed. They’ll come out of the oven all crackly and delicious and then they’ll turn into tiny slices of flat cake. You’ll eat them anyway but you’ll curse me so you’ve been warned.
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- ⅓ cup shortening
- ⅓ cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-1/4 cups flour
- 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
- 4 cups pure icing/confectioners’ sugar sifted
- 6 tablespoons warm water
- In a large bowl cream the shortening and the sugar.
- Add the eggs, extract, and milk.
- In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients with a wire whisk.
- Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl.
- Mix with mixer until well combined.
- With hands, shape dough into a ball.
- Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400F/200
- Lightly grease cookie sheets.
- Roll half or ⅓ dough at a time, keep the rest refrigerated.
- For crisp cookies, roll dough, paper thin. For softer cookies, roll ⅛ " to ¼" thick.
- With floured cookie cutter, cut into shapes.
- Re-roll trimmings and cut.
- Place cookies ½ inch apart on cookie sheets.
- Decorate with colored sugar or leave plain if you want iced cookies
- Bake 8 minutes or until very light brown.
- Remove cookies to racks; cool
- Makes about 6 dozen cookies
- Beat all ingredients until icing forms a peak (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).
- Divide into small portions and color.
- Use this icing to pipe a perimeter line around the shape of your cookie then thin the icing and flood the cookie. The perimeter line will keep the flooding from falling onto the floor. Let dry.
Once you get the cookies done (which btw, if you only have one oven rack like I do -thanks for nothing Miele – takes a while) you need to make some royal icing. I took the easy way out and used meringue powder but it’s possible to make this with egg whites. Since I was new on the job I figured I needed all the help I could get.
The other members of the cooking club are The Deep Dish, Dinner or Dessert, Simply Sweet Justice , and the Grad School Chef to see their version of the cookies.
kristy @ the wicked noodle says
So cute, Maureen!
Thanks Kristy, I’m catching up with the rest of the world who knows how to do this.
Ann@Anncoo Journal says
These cookies look cute and I’ve never decorated my cookies too 🙂
I wouldn’t have done this if it hadn’t been a cooking club “must bake” but I’m glad I had some practice. I know what I’d do differently next time.
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
These are darling, I love the pumpkins!
Thank you so much, you’re really sweet.
Parsley Sage says
LOOK AT YOUR ROYAL ICING COOKIES! JUST LOOK AT THAT!
Argh. I can’t believe you’re disappointed in these. I’d have given myself the world’s biggest pat on the back if I made cookies that looked like that. Well done, Miss Maureen!
And how awesome is your swag trip to Canberra! I hope you have a fabulous time, darling 🙂
Thank you, my sweet friend. I’d never made cookies like these before so I wanted something to force me to spend/waste an entire day and then several hours cleaning up the mess I made. I didn’t have one flat surface that wasn’t covered with cookies, icing or bags. BUT, I did use the plastic wrap inside the piping bag – huge win. I also used 4 squeeze bottles. It took forever to clean up and then I had to scrub the black out of my fingernails for 10 minutes. 🙂
How fun and festive! I bet they tasted great!
they were good for the first 10 🙂 after that they got boring. LOL
So cute! Have a fabulous time in Canberra!
Claire - Simply Sweet Justice says
Congratulations on the Canberra trip! I am just thrilled for you and cannot wait to hear all about it!
Royal icing cookies are tough stuff. Your cookies turned out just lovely! Now that I recall, when I tried making my first batch, it was a rainy, humid day. I will try these again! Awesome job my friend!
Congrats Maureen~!! That;s going to be one exciting trip! I can’t wait to hear about it.
Those cookies look so good.
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
How exciting regarding the Canberra trip! Congratulations Maureen, that is wonderful 🙂 I hope you have a great time. These cookies look gorgeous too – very cute but in a completely Halloween way 😛
LOL, Kari, I had fun making them and fun for hours cleaning up my mess 🙂
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
They look fabulously spooky Maureen! 😀 And have a great time in Canberra!
Thanks Lorraine. I hope my report on Canberra is 1/10th as good as your excursion posts. 🙂
I am definitely making these – they sound so good!
Baby Sumo says
Oh wow! These are sooo adorable. I really shd try making them for my kids 🙂
I have never decorated cookies in this fashion either. I looks like a job that takes a lot of time and patience. Your cookies look beautiful! Congrats on your all expense paid trip too!
Eileen, if I say I want to decorate cookies again, I hope someone smacks me. I’m still finding black icing 🙂
Dear Maureen, I think you did a wonderful job on these cookies. I am sure they are delicious and the decorating looks professional. Blessings dear friend. Catherine xo
Thanks, Catherine! you are always so kind. Have a great weekend.
Congrats on the Canberra thing! Sounds like fun, and the price is certainly right. 😉 Of course because I don’t decorate cookies I’m probably easily fooled, but they look really nice to me. And you took some really good pictures of them. Plus your skull is awesome. Fun post – thanks.
I think you did a great job with decorating the cookies for the first time. Certainly better than my Xmas or Valentine’s Day attempts using sugar cookies. For St. Patrick’s Day, I toned down my ambitions and just went with coarse green sugar crystals. 🙂
I had great ambitions of Halloween and bought cat, pumpkin, bat, and skull and cross bones cookie cutters … then I ended up on crutches. Oh well, there’s always next year when I can attempt the outline/flooding etc. 🙂
am ready for halloween party already! 🙂
I can’t wait to hear about your trip. I think the cookies are cute, and I would never even try it so good job!
Hotly Spiced says
Serves 60? Wow! That’s a lot of decorating. You are so creative, Maureen. These are gorgeous. I’ve made black icing before so I know exactly what you mean. It gets all over you and it’s so sticky and you can’t use a lot of icing sugar to stop the stickiness because that turns the black, grey etc. Great effort on these cookies and I love your styling. How exciting to be a ‘human brochure’. Wish I could be in the ACT to catch up with you xx
Norma Chang says
Looking forward to reading about your trip.
Your cookies look great, fantastic job.
Where did you find that Halloween platter or is it part of the hat? Is Halloween celebrated in Australia?
they look great to me 🙂 and love the decoration
Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake says
Oh Maureen you are so creative! They are beautiful cookies and probably cuter than scary for me. 😛 Too bad we don’t really celebrate Halloween here in Australia, I couldn’t even find carving pumpkins at most of the grocery stores I went to…:(
Claire @ Claire K Creations says
What bubbles?! They look fantastic to me. I’m glad I’m not the only one who takes forever to do something like this. It’s rather impressive the mess you can make from a couple of hours decorating in the kitchen isn’t it?
What a fun trip. I think you’ll make a wonderful human brochure!
Thanks Claire, you always know the right thing to say. I’m really looking forward to going. You are right about the mess but it’s all cleaned up and forgotten now. 🙂
Food is our religion says
The cookies are soo adorable and creative! Have never celebrated Halloween before, perhaps this year is the year I start (with the cookies).
Those cookies look so adorable!
Jen @ Savory Simple says
I just love these cookies! I’ve been wanting to learn to decorate them for awhile now. So adorable!
I wanted to learn to do it too. I learned a lot but mostly I learned that I make a huge mess. 🙂 It WAS fun though.
First off CONGRATULATIONS! How exciting! I’m so pleased that they chose you and John! I can hardly wait to read about your trip. I’d love to come to Australia if it wasn’t for the cost of the airfare and the time to fly there…perhaps one day!
I’m going to make Halloween cookies but I have a honey cookie recipe that I love do I’ll head your warnings! We’re into fall weather here in Toronto but its awful; rain, rain and more rain!
Thanks Eva, I’m really looking forward to going. I can’t wait for you to share your honey cookie recipe. Christmas is coming! I might feel more Martha Stewarty by then.
CJ at Food Stories says
OMG … These are so cute 🙂
lizzie - strayed from the table says
These are so cool. I love the pumpkins, I wish we celebrated halloween here. I have no idea what to expect – only seen it in movies.
Looking forward to hearing all about your Canberra trip – John and you will have a fab time.
I grew up with Halloween and it’s just a fancy dress party for adults but for kids – they dress up and knock on doors in their neighbourhoods and say, “Trick or Treat” and the people give them candy or lollies. In the olden days we got popcorn balls or brownies or cookies but no more. Everything must be wrapped and mum or dad have to inspect each piece before being allowed to eat it.
Such exciting news!!! Congrats on being selected for the Human Brochure!
I think I’ve made royal icing once…and I was not patient enough to do anything more than a plain colored icing on my cookies. You did a beautiful job!
Once I got going, Liz, it wasn’t too bad. I did the outlining and I used that icing in plastic wrap.. if you don’t do this you need to. The video is in my kitchen tips on the front page.
Your cookies look adorable!
I know, one really requires a lot of patience to icing these cookies. I have done a few in the past (on 2 occasions) both were for a friend’s daughters birthday parties. I was exhausted.
Firstly bake the cookies, then icing them takes forever.
Looking at your cookies, I feel like attempting this again.
Congratulations on your Canberra trip. I am so excited for you. Would love to read and see lots of pictures.
Another serious Halloweener! Love it! Such scary looking cookies. 🙂
Nami | Just One Cookbook says
Wow for someone who never decorated cookies (me neither) I think you did WAY better than ones I see in bakeries or supermarkets. I’m really serious about this. Wow I wonder if my first time would turn out like this. I’ve seen all the bakers’ royal icing (um, is that a brand? See, I have no idea about icing…) cookies and it looks like a lot of work. I love your Halloween cookies, Maureen. Wonderful job!
You are so sweet. You should make the cookies one day and then have a play day and decorate them with your kids. You can make plain white and let them paint. Memories!
Maureen, I saw this after a fiasco of a day making Halloween cookies, and how I wish you were by my side this afternoon to guide me! The cookies were great, but my decorating was a disaster – yours came out great!
So glad you will get to go to Canberra, can’t wait to read all about it!
LOL My husband came in to the kitchen when I was doing all this and said, “Is there a reason you’re putting yourself through this?” I laughed.
Then he said, “Honey, did your nose itch?”
“I don’t know, why?”
“Because you have a black moustache.”
You sure you want me there? LOL
The Café Sucré Farine says
hehe, I totally get it Maureen. I have a friend with whom I often do showers and celebrations with for friends. I always come up with these crazy, over-achieving ideas, then half way through I call her and say “whose stinkin’ idea was this?” 🙂 She would be too sweet to say that but I know she’s thinking it too.
I like your cookies and I’m excited for you about this adventure in Canberra, very cool!
Laura @ Family Spice says
ha! ha! Oh, I hate it when this happens to me, too! I truly despise decorating cookies, especially when I see so many blogger do such amazing work. How exciting about your trip! What a great “treat!”
Tania @ A Perfect Pantry says
The cookies are gorgeous… I haven’t planned my halloween baking goodies.
These cookies are very cute! I like the black cat and those little white ghosts LOL!
Christine @ Cooking Crusade says
beautiful cookies! i love decorating cookies with royal icing as well but always find it a pain to flood them etc etc.. takes SO much time and there’s a bunch of clean up as well =. congrats on getting selected for the 500 humans brochure! very cool 🙂
Thanks Christine, and thanks for coming by. It WAS a lot of cleanup but I did have a lot of fun doing it. I’ve learned heaps so when I do it next time I’ll be much quicker. 🙂
Rachel Cooks says
These cookies are so fun!!! Congrats on the trip 🙂
Thanks Rachel, I had fun but it also took forever to get them done and then even longer to clean up my mess 🙂
Kitchen Belleicious says
those cookies are the cutest things I have ever seen. i would love to make them with my 3 yr old. WOW! You are impressive indeed
Ilan (IronWhisk Blog) says
Even humid cookies are good cookies!
Hope you have fun in Canberra!
Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking says
Oh I hope you have an awesome time on your trip and these cookies are so cute!!
Beautiful cookies! It is amazing how much time and work it takes to do cookies like these. “Flooding the cookie” gives me chills! Thank you for sharing all your hard work!
Mikaela Cowles says
Wow Maureen, I can’t believe how artistic you are. It’s always impressive to see what people can do with frosting. Perhaps with a little practice…
Baker Street says
How adorable are these cookies?! I’ve never attempted to make sugar cookies but your post has certainly inspired me to get baking! 🙂
Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen says
These look amazing, Maureen. The black icing came out great. I’m not great with icing colours and would probably end up with grey cookies. Congrats on your selection as human brochure – you do such a great job with your visits, I can’t wait to read!
Norma-Platanos, Mangoes and Me! says
I became your 970th follower. Love our blog and cannot wait to look more into it. By the way, great cookies….
Somenhow this went into spam with 570 others, so sorry! Thanks for becoming my 970th follower. I’m sure that entitles you to something but I can’t think of what right now. LOL I’m off to make a visit to you now.
Ooo icing cookies. So not my thing but I do think you’ve done a brilliant job. Too bad that they didn’t stay crispy… Come to think of it I really never make cookies. Lol. Maybe I should give it a go… And congratulations on getting that nice trip too. Can’t wait to hear all about it !
You should. Little froggie cookies 🙂
Jennifer @ Delicieux says
Wow, those cookies look amazing!!! What a great job you did, especially for your first time. I’m not sure I have the patience for decorating cookies.
I’ve done it once and I might do it for a Christmas Cookie swap in December but that’s it. 🙂
Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb says
The food coloring drama sounds familiar. That is why I don’t like to work with those colores, but then on the other its fun to create pretty coloreful food dishes. =)
Maureen, the cookies look excellent and I would have never guessed that u had little trouble making them. Ah the humidity can be so annoying, right?
What’s wax paper? first time I hear that expression.
cutie cutie cookies! XD
waxed paper is available in the US and it’s been around since before I was born. Most people just use baking paper now and sometimes the word sneaks in on me 🙂
Jill Colonna says
These cookies are amazing. First time? They look so pro you should open a shop! Must be hard thinking of a cold, bleak and murky Hallowe’en when you’re in such wonderful warmth. And BRAVO for the trip on the 26th. Lucky you! Enjoy every minute of it and look forward to hearing all about it when you return. Have fun.
I have no idea how you have time to leave comments, Jill, but I really appreciate it. Every time I make Macarons now I remember that day I got your book and then peeked through the oven window. I should have had a video camera! 🙂
Maureen…two thumbs up on these fabulous-looking and I know tasting cookies…I’m like you…other than dusting on some confectionary sugary or a few sprinkles, I’m lost! I’ll look forward to your Canberra trip…all expenses paid is a huge boost…they’re the ones getting the big deal…you!!! xo Ally
Thanks heaps, Ally! I’m learning more every day 🙂
Sandra's Easy Cooking says
Wow…those look absolutely amazing! Have fun on your trip..it sounds very exciting!
Jack Milgram says
I am really not sure if I would be able to bake something like this, but I am going to give it a try. An amazing and timely recipe as always
Hey Jack, anyone can make a cookie 🙂 the piping stuff can be messy but it’s an adventure!
offshore banking says
While the dough is resting, I set up what I call my rolling station. I gather all of the tools I need and set them up in the area where I will be working . These are parchment lined baking sheets, an offset spatula, cookie cutters, a rolling pin, and flour for dusting my workspace and dough. I prefer to roll my cookies on parchment paper, so I also have a sheet for rolling.
Marie | FeelingFoodish says
Hi Maureen! These cookies look great! I love decorating sugar cookies, but it so much work. It’s been a while since I’m made decorated sugar cookies. I think I need to do some soon.
Hi Marie! The holidays are a-coming and everyone likes cookies. I figured if I practices on Halloween I might be ready for cookie swap time in December. 🙂 Thanks for the visit!
Malou | Skip to Malou says
What a beautiful work of art these cookies are. I mean if it were mine, there will be smudges all around them haha.
I’m excited for your trip to Canberra, and please be a human brochure 🙂 we will be excited to read the details of your trip!
I love your halloween cookies!! They are so cute!! Well done 🙂 I need to come trick or treating at your place this year.
I have used black powder colour and it is no easier! It seems to want to split into the blue green particles. I had to use so much that I dyed the kids mouths :0
Such a coincide have just made some sugar cookies and iced them too. This is not a skill I would have said I had either! … and I am not a patient person but mine turned out okay too!
Your cookies are adorable!! I have never used Queen royal icing but I’m definitely going to try it next time!
First off, I love the witch’s hat! And thanks to you I now have some great tips on making these decorated cookies. I’ve always dreaded the rolling and cutting of cookies and can’t wait to try your method. They look so festive! Congrats on your trip!
LOL I got the hat at the cheapo store for $2 🙂 I thought it was perfect for this post. thanks heaps for coming by!
Well you did a fabulous job on decorating these cookies for never having done anything but sprinkles and m&m’s! I need to try these out sometime too I have decorated many a cake but not with royal icing and not cookies either with royal icing, I’m too afraid they will not turn out good.
custom writing paper says
Thanks for the recipe. I’ll bake these cakes for the next Halloween party. It will make the holiday even more interesting.
writing company says
Hello! Hope you are doing well! I like Halloween very much. This is my favourite holiday when everyone can wear some scared suit and scare people. also I like all sweets and cookies. your idea is awesome! I will definitely try to cook such tasty halloween cookies. I hope my children will like it! I will write you about my cookies) as soon as possible!
Hi to all! Looks very tasty! Thanks for sharing the recipe! The next holiday will use your recipe and tips!
What if you don’t have shortening and you don’t want to lose money?
Such cute cookies! Can’t wait to try out this recipe!