This year has brought with it a list—a novel, really—of questions parents never expected to have to ask themselves. A big one at front of mind right now: Can my kid go trick-or-treating? Should they?
What’s best for each kid is different, but in case you’re looking for something else to do on the evening of Oct. 31, or if you’d like some additional Halloween fun this year, how does cookie decorating sound?
We spoke to Kelly Morton, the marketing director at The BonBonerie in O’Bryonville, for some tips to make and decorate this year’s Halloween treats.
Chances are, you already have the tools you’ll need to decorate your Halloween cookies:
- Something for spreading, like a butter knife
- Plastic baggies, to pipe icing
- Toothpicks, for detail work
- Wax paper, for easy clean up
- Paper towels, for the mess
To turn a plastic baggie into an icing bag, select one that seals, and put the icing inside. Use scissors to cut a small hole in a bottom corner—emphasis on small. You can always make the hole bigger.
Simple icings aren’t difficult to make: You just need water and powdered sugar.
- If you have a fine mesh sieve, sift the powdered sugar first. This will remove lumps and keep your icing smooth.
- Add a few drops of water to the sugar, and mix until smooth. If you’re going to pipe the icing, use less water because thicker icing is better for piping. Thinner icing—read: use more water—is better for spreading. If the icing is too thick, add a few more drops of water; if it’s too thin, add more sugar.
- To flavor your icing, swap out the water with vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon juice or orange juice.
- Now it’s time to color that icing! Use food coloring, and remember: A little goes a long way. Add just a few drops at a time. Liquid food coloring will change the icing’s texture, so you may need to add more sugar after this step. Some Halloween-specific color tips: Yellow and red make orange; red and blue make purple; blue and yellow make green. Mix all three for brown. Black’s a little tricky to DIY, so you may have to purchase that specifically.
Keep in mind that icing gets firmer in cold air and softer when warm. The longer you hold the icing bag, the warmer the icing will get from your hand—and the softer, and runnier, it will become. To firm up too-warm icing, stick it in the fridge for a few minutes.
- If you’re icing a cookie and want to pipe the full surface, first outline the cookie’s edges before filling it in.
- Wet icing blends as it dries. To make fun patterns, cover the cookie in one icing color, and, while it’s still wet, use another color to stripe the top.
- Drag a toothpick through wet stripes to make small spikes along the stripe.
- Drag the toothpick in small dots to outline different shapes.
The cookie: Simple Vanilla Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Halloween-themed cookie cutters
In a large bowl, beat softened butter for 30 seconds. Add sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can. Stir in any remaining flour.
Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for two hours in the fridge. (Don’t skip this step. It gives the ingredients time to rest and combine, and it makes a much better cookie!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough, half at a time, to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes. Place cutouts on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10–12 minutes or until edges are lightly brown. Transfer cookies to wire racks, and let cool completely before icing.
To store, layer unfrosted cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container and cover. Store at room temperature for up to three days, or freeze for up to three months.