Who doesn’t like Halloween? As you know, this is the time of year I let the boys decorate cookies with crazy eyes, spikes, legs and black icing. Yes, you read that right…black icing. The scarier and more crazy-looking things are, the more the boys are into it. We’ve done scary zombie spider cookies and beastly bugs. My boys seem to be getting more into the “tricks” part of Halloween this year, but I’m still a treat kind of girl...so we’re making Halloween Molasses Cut-Outs.
The boys asked for black bats and wanted me to dye the dough black. I just couldn’t do it. However, when I found these molasses cut-outs and told the kids that I found brown cookies to decorate, they were thrilled. If you are looking for a great cookie to make and decorate with your little goblins, these cut-outs are cute and easy to make! I will try to keep on task here, but the boys are so into Halloween tricks that it turned into a pretty funny afternoon. I only dropped an ingredient or two and gained a few more gray hairs from the experience.
Just as most great cookies begin, combine 1/2 cup butter with 1/2 cup sugar.
I heard a little voice say, “Mom! I’ll give you a hand and get the sugar for you!” Who wouldn’t accept sugar from someone wearing glow-in-the-dark alien hands? I wouldn’t let him add it while wearing the alien hands, though. Nothing good would come of that – the mixer would be “accidentally” turned on, and then I would then have alien hands in my cookie dough. We’re going to avoid that situation.
I went to get the eggs and I heard a little giggle when I opened the fridge. Eyeballs and ghosts. Sigh. They drew eyeballs and ghosts on my eggs. After I pretended to be sufficiently surprised (I was actually a bit impressed with their creativity), I added 1 egg into the cookie mixture.
Then we added 1/2 cup molasses. Full flavor molasses can be a little strong, so I usually try to find the mild molasses. Watch out, molasses can be really sticky! Then pour in 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar.
“It’s my turn.”
“No! It’s mine.”
“OK, I’ll watch you so you don’t spill.” Why couldn’t they think of that when they were pouring molasses?
When it’s all in the mixer, turn it on to medium speed and beat until creamy. Then add all the other ingredients, beginning with 2 1/2 cups flour.
One teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon go in next. Here’s where it starts to get tasty – add 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.
The mixer is doing its job today getting the dough prepped and ready before we remove it to chill. It smells amazing!
Once the dough is mixed together, divide it into thirds. This will help when rolling the dough. You can work with it in manageable portions. Once it’s wrapped, place the dough in the fridge for 2 hours or until firm.
When you are ready to start rolling the dough, preheat the oven to 350°F. Then lightly flour your work surface with equal parts flour and sugar. This will keep the dough from sticking to the surface. I usually put down wax paper and sprinkle flour on top of it for a work surface. It makes for easy clean-up afterwards. If only I had enough of that to cover the kitchen when the boys help out…
When you roll the dough, try to make it about 1/4 inch thick. That will give you a good solid cookie to decorate without being so thick that it doesn’t bake well.
Then cut out all your favorite shapes with assorted 2- to 3-inch cookie cutters. We’ve got bats, zombie hands, witches, a haunted house, ghosts, cats and, of course, mummies and ginger-dead men. The boys have waited a long time to make their ginger cookies. They were a bit upset I wouldn’t let them make them for holiday cookies. They had to make “plain” gingerbread people cookies, so, to keep them engaged, I let them decorate dinosaurs and planes. It was quite a scene by the time they were done. Check it out – I tried to rein them in.
Place cut-out cookies 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. If you have kids working with you, don’t worry about extra flour or sugar on them – kids are going to be messy and they will be decorating the cookies, so extra flour on them won’t mess up the cookies. The kitchen may be another story!
Place the cookies into the oven and bake 8-10 minutes or until no indentation remains when you touch the cookie.
Let them stand 1 minute before you remove them from the pan. Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool completely before you decorate.
It’s decorating time! You can easily make your own frosting with 4 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Gradually add 3 to 4 tablespoons milk to reach the desired consistency. Then add food coloring to achieve the desired colors. Also, since this is one time of year that black frosting is made, I let the boys buy it to frost their cookies.
The creepy cookie cut-outs were a hit! We decorated ours with an assortment of Halloween-themed sprinkles, colored icing and more.
You can say that we can be pretty silly when we make creepy cookies, but it is such a fun time, and they look great set out on the table for Halloween parties! I hope you enjoy your Halloween and decide to give these Halloween Molasses Cut-Outs a try. Making them builds great memories with family and friends!
Alexandra is paid to write for the Recipe Buzz® Blog.