These cookies are cutesy cutouts completely taken to the next level. There isn’t quite like biting into a cookie and finding oozy blood red caramel, or fun Halloween sprinkles. Whatever you fill these fun cookies with, is really up to you. Just use your imagination, and make sure it’s edible!
Essentially my inspiration came from two places. The first one was where the main recipe and ideas came from. A huge thank you to Not Martha for such a beautiful blog with a lot of super ideas on how to make something new, fun and delicious for Halloween! The second bit of inspiration came from walking around Salem, MA. Necco was setup as a vendor at their annual Biz Baz, which was debuting their new candy, Zombie Food. The candy is horrible, but what a creepy fun concept!
Rather than gross everyone out, I’m hoping this post showcases my own inspiration from someone else’s idea in hopes that it can continue onwards for whatever works for you and your kids!
Essentially my journey started with making a caramel sauce. The recipe was Alton Brown’s Dark Salty Caramels adapted so that it turned saucy instead of bite size. I followed the recipe as is, until it asked to cool the mixture for two minutes. Instead of letting it cool and rest, I took the mixture off of the burner and whisked in the room temperature cream right away. I did this slowly and carefully, as the steam was VERY hot! From there, I added the butter directly to the mixture and allowed it to melt and fully incorporate. I then added a single teaspoon of Vanilla based on my own taste preferences, and then allowed the caramel to cool.
Once the caramel was cool, I ladled out about a cup of carmel sauce to two separate bowls. I had to add about 30 drops of food coloring to each to get my desired color. From there, I placed each color into a separate piping bag, or you could use a ziplock bag with one of the corners trimmed to help pipe out caramel into your finished creations. At this point however, I just set them aside till needed.
My next step was to make the cookie dough which can be found on Not Martha‘s blog. It was a super recipe so I didn’t alter it a bit, except for the fact that I used whole wheat organic flour. I also doubled the recipe since I knew I wanted to make a lot of variations for show and eat aka show and tell. To the dough, before the flour was added, I made sure to divvy up everything evenly as the recipe asks for you to add food coloring at this stage. I had to add anywhere from 30 drops of food coloring to a full tablespoon of food coloring paste to get the desired colors. Remember that your mixture should be overly vibrant as once you add the flour, it will muddle down the colors. Once all the dough was mixed up, it was time to refrigerate and wait!
Using my handy dandy Wilton cookie cutters that I newly acquired thanks to Wegmans, I rolled out the dough following Not Martha’s instructions. I learned later that it was very important to roll everything out evenly. Later on, if the cookies are not even, you’ll end up having to fill in with icing and the cookies won’t come together seamlessly. Also one other thing I learned is that if the cookies stretch even just a little before baking, they won’t come together in the end. Case in point was the vampire teeth and ghosts. My first go around with the vampire teeth warranted a lot of lumps and bumps in the middle layer as it was very fragile once I cut holes into it. The pieces didn’t come together at all. This was the same with the ghost hands, at first they looked to have more than two which was not the look I was going for. The moral of the story is follow Not Martha’s instructions and roll the dough out evenly and carefully. Being a perfectionist here will pay off big later.
After all the cookies were cut out, I baked all of them. Be sure to take note that with your darker doughs, it’s important to brush them off with a pastry brush once rolled. It makes a big difference to the finished cookies. The baking process was a bit of a learning process too because anything not in the main body of the cookies, like ghost hands or vampire fangs, browned more easily. It was a careful balance, but eventually I was able to pair up a top, middle and bottom for each shape. Any leftover, or ones who were a little over browned, were eaten on the spot.
The last stage was assembly and by far the best part! First however, you had to setup your work station, which included making glue (icing). This was done by taking 1 cup of confectioners sugar and combining it with 4 teaspoons of milk. Once all the lumps were out of that, you put it into a piping bag or ziplock bag with a tiny corner snipped off.
Now it was all about gathering the cookie troops, sprinkles, caramel and glue to start off on the mission!
A huge thank you to Not Martha for putting these together and I hope you all enjoy!