I love holiday decorations. From October to February you can be sure there is some sort of decoration in our apartment. Holiday decorations make me feel happy and festive. Why treat holidays like any other day when there’s the opportunity to make things look colorful and special?I have things to hang on the door, towels to go in the bathroom, centerpieces for the kitchen table and much much more. And of course, I also have things for baking (Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter cookie cutters). A few weeks ago I added to the collection while I was shopping with two college friends. I found a four-pack container of Halloween sprinkles.
“What are you going to make?” Jackie asked, “I expect to see them on your blog.”
Gulp. This was going to be a mini-challenge. I had planned to make regular sugar cookies, but that was out of the question since I’ve already posted that recipe. So what to make? She suggested cupcakes and I was totally prepared to do that, until I was indulging in some after work retail therapy at Hill’s Kitchen, and I bought a set of Halloween cookie cutters. Therefore, cookies it would be.
I wanted something with a holiday flair, so I searched for pumpkin cookie recipes and didn’t find anything I was excited about. Then I went to my favorite cookie book, The Art of the Cookie and found a brown sugar cookie recipe that included a suggested addition of cinnamon and all spice. Boom, I was sold. Ultimately, I didn’t stray too far from the regular sugar cookie but these are different enough in look and taste. While cooking the whole apartment filled with a warm cinnamon smell that made the place feel like the holidays. The cookies are chewy, with a rich flavor that reminded me a bit of mellow gingerbread cookie. The cookie comes out a nice brown, and topped with autumnal colored sprinkles, they have just the spooky Halloween feel I was hoping for.
Aparted from the Art of the Cookie
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
14 tbsp unsalted butter (it’s less than 2 sticks)
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp heavy cream (usually I just use milk, this time I actually used cream)
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg.
2. Using an electric mixer (or your arm if you’re strong!) mix the butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy. This should take 2-3 minutes in the mixer and it will look like a mocha colored mousse.
3. Add the egg and molasses to the butter and sugar. Beat on low until the egg is completely incorporated.
4. Still on low, slowly add the flour into the wet ingredients. I did this in four batches. I’d pour some in, mix until it was mostly incorporated, then add more flour, and mix again.
5. Add the heavy cream and mix until everything is incorporated.
6. Scrape out all the dough and form it into a large rectangle or circle. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least one hour. I left the dough in the fridge for a day. I made the dough one night and then baked it a day later.
7. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°.
8. Generously flour your work surface and rolling pin. Take the dough out of the fridge. Break out a manageable piece (I broke it into thirds). Using the rolling pin, roll the dough until its somewhere between 1/4″ and 1/8″ thick.
9. Press cookie cutters in the dough to make the shapes you want!
10. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the cookies at least 1/2″ apart. Decorate with sprinkles ahead of time if you want, or you can wait to decorate until they are done being baked.
11. Bake for 10-13 minutes. Since the cookies are dark it’s hard to tell when they are done. Simply press the center of the cookie with your finger. If it’s mushy let them cook longer. If it’s a little firm, the cookies are ready!
I’m giving this three spoons. For me, all baking is messy. I opened up a brand new all spice bottle, but the teaspoon in to scoop and when I took the spoon out I spilled probably another 1/2 tsp. Why can’t I be clean?! I truly don’t know. I also had dough on the sleeves of my sweatshirt. Cookie-cutter cookies take a lot of steps, and a lot of flour, and therefore there is so much opportunity to make a big mess. But for me, these kind of cookies make the holidays.