Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Sugar Cookies

If you eat too many cookies in one sitting, like I did, this is what you might look like.  

Hehe, j/k.  This is one of the pumpkins we carved this weekend when we invited Susan's adorable nieces and nephews over to our place for our first housewarming.  They had previously visited once while we were still moving and settling in and our place was a mess so there wasn't much for them to do.  Even our attempts to bribe them with pizza were foiled when we walked over to Piece only to find that the wait would be over 45 mins that night.  This was our chance to redeem ourselves and let's face it, our reputations were at stake here.  I had to wow and dazzle them and subconsciously plant in their heads that Susan and Soomeenshee emo are really cool.  Let me tell you, it ain't easy trying to impress, let alone keep the attention span of three kids under the age of 7.  To aid us in our attempts, Susan and I bought three pumpkins for them to carve and we baked a bunch of sugar cookies for them to decorate.

In preparation for the big day, I asked a few friends for their go to recipes for sugar cookies and they gave me two recommendations.  One is Alton Brown's recipe and the other is from  Being the nutcase that I am, I made a batch of each.  In my defense, I didn't think one batch would be enough for 3 kids and 3 adults and two batches ended up being the perfect amount of cookies for us to decorate and eat in the end.  They are both great recipes, but there are notable differences that are good to know for future use. 

If I'm making straight up, unfrosted sugar cookies to eat, I'd go with the recipe because it puffs up into a cloud of soft goodnesss and has a nice vanilla flavor to it.  However, if you're looking to cut out shapes and decorate them with frosting, Alton Brown's recipe is pretty darn fantastic.  Alton Brown's cookies hold their shape well.  

Alton Brown's Sugar Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. 

Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.  I was lazy and just left my dough in the bowl.  I also made the batch the night before and left it in the fridge overnight.  A word of caution, I'd suggest leaving the dough out in room temperature for about an hour or two before you plan on baking because mine became one large rock.  I was running out of time before the kiddies arrived, so I ended up dumping this out on the counter and whacking it a couple times with my rolling pin.  That did the trick.  :)  

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If the dough has warmed during rolling, place a cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. What I did is put the cut out cookies on the cookie sheet and put the whole cookie sheet in the freezer for a few minutes before they went into the oven to bake.  

Place cut out cookies at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time.

Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven.

Then move to complete cooling on wire rack.

I grouped mine according to shape and had them ready for the kids to decorate.

For the frosting, I bought vanilla and chocolate frosting from the store and added food coloring.  I also bought a bunch of different sprinkles and jimmies for them to use.

Serve the cookies as is or ice as desired.  You can store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

The kids ended up decorating all of the cookies and seemed to enjoy carving the pumpkins as well.   I'm not sure if my master plan worked, but I did find a nice little note in my bathroom from one of the kids after they left that said, "Thank you for letting us come to your house/apartment.  Love some people."  It seems like "some people" had a good time at our place.  Score!


  1. the cookies are so cute!! can we decorate and make some if i visit next time?????