HALLOWEEN WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME

I dedicate this post to all who struggle with a harsh reality: Halloween won’t be back for 363 days. I invite you to sit back for a virtual tour of many spooky cookies I’ve baked and donated in the weeks before the greatest cookie holiday of all times…

Perhaps my favorite of all…

Sugar Cookie flavored with Pumpkin Spice, flooded with Royal icing orange and white, then painted free-hand with Sugarprism Tuxedo Black… For the little witch in the center I used a stencil.

Some additional cookies got the “zentangle” treatment I am so fond of…

Moving on… some cookies made with the help of a mini-projector and pictures found online (artprojectforkids is a favorite source of mine)

Basic white cookies for a black-and-white spooky look, painted with food pen, free-hand, as it’s such a simple design. Bat and skull are fondant additions.

Zentangle can be interesting to change the background, and particularly for a Halloween cookie, no need to strive for perfection. Or so I hope.

A little more spookiness, the bat cookie was inspired by Haniela…

I really love the candy corn shape, so versatile! The purple ones below are not iced, just sugar cookies painted with Sugarprism, or with little fondant ghosts.

Below, a couple of crackled cookie attempts using Sugarprism once again. I will re-visit the technique soon and blog about it once I get it right.

Shortbread is also wonderful to decorate using cookie stamps like these from Nordic Ware. After baking, they were painted with luster dust diluted with vodka.

Linzer Cookies can be scary too! Just use your favorite recipe and create a spooky face. I painted the edges with luster dust and vodka.

And finally, a couple of macarons, because… how could I NOT include them?

That’s all for now, folks! I am really sad that Halloween is over, and all the cookies I did not get a chance to make will have to wait. But hey, there’s always Thanksgiving… and Christmas… and when you blink twice, Valentine’s will be knocking on your door!

HALOWEEN PIZZA BOX SCENE

STAY CREEPY, MY FRIENDS!

I am thrilled to contribute with my little pizza box concoction to the goodies made by my Great American Baking Show friends. It’s been a while since we got together to bake on a set theme, but better late than never!

I love the concept of pizza box scenes, devised by Marlyn from Montreal Confections, and in fact used one of her ideas for the background cookie. The cookie was made with an impression mat for the wood grain texture. Chocolate sugar cookies are the best for the effect, right before baking you brush a little white food gel to reveal the texture in all its glory. The same cookie was used for the night sky.

COMPONENTS OF THE PIZZA BOX SCENE

A pumpkin-hat combo that I made using two cookie cutters joined together…

A little black cat pressed into the night-sky component, painted with Sugarprism…

A caldron with store-bought spooky eyes and neon-green bubbles…

Fondant decorations for the little ghost (he is friendly!) and bat (he is not rabid)…

Royal icing, piping consistency for the full moon…

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The caldron must be made in stages, so that each group of bubbles has a chance to crust, otherwise they just join together, and the effect will be los

I hope you enjoyed this little pizza box cookie combo. One of the things I like about this version is that some cookies are left plain, so those who prefer less sweetness will appreciate their inclusion. Make sure you use a very flavorful cookie recipe, for the chocolate I recommend this one.

Make sure to stop by the homebakers IG page to see what my tent-baking friends made for this virtual get-together.

LET’S GET SPOOKY!

But let’s do it in style, under the guidance of the great Amy, from Seriously Sweet on Davis St. I could not join her tutorial live, as when that happened I was too concerned with teaching, but a few days later I jumped into it. The great thing about her tutorials is that you can watch them whenever you want in case you cannot join the live session.

I absolutely loved making this series. There were additional cookies demonstrated in the tutorial, but I only managed to make these two. Introducing…

Susie, the Happy Spider!

For the spiderweb cookie, Amy taught us how to give the background a nice texture, and all the details to pipe the web, how to get the dimensions correctly. I made my spider with fondant and dyed it silver. Eyes were tiny little drops of Rainbow Dust Metallic Red.

As to the background it’s all in the consistency of the black Royal icing, as well as the technique to spread it.

SPOOKY TOMB DUET

Aren’t those super cool? Once again Amy taught us how to get the funky background, that can come in handy for many types of cookies.

In the same tutorial she shared a very nice tombstone cookie, and a cauldron. I had made a cauldron the week before, but hers had extra touches of cool, like addition texture to the surface. I will have to re-visit the cauldron issue next year, as spooky baking season is coming to an end. I am not sure how I will deal with Halloween withdrawal syndrome. Am I alone in my misery?

SALLY COOKIES SALLY

I am so so excited about this post! My inability to draw anything free-hand has always bothered me. When I saw that Michelle (the very inventor of Sugarprism in flesh, blood and awesomeness) was going to teach a class online about painting Sally, from the Nightmare before Christmas, I was tempted. Imagine that: creating a very complex image on a cookie without the help of a projector. I admit that my first reaction was to run away screaming. But she convinced me to give it a try, and said she was SURE she could help me. It would be a slow, step-by-step thing, and painless. So one particular Sunday afternoon, I spent two hours surrounded by Sugarprism, brushes, and guess what? There was almost no pain involved. Instead, I was rewarded by a cookie staring at me with a surprised look. Did you really just paint me?

YES I DID!!!!

I cannot tell you how thrilled I was by the time we finished it. I know it pales in comparison to Michelle’s version, and to many made by people in class, but it felt like a masterpiece to me. All credit to Michelle, she just explains every detail so well, how to hold the brush, how much product to add to it, the consistency, and how to approach the design. It was a ton of fun, made me feel on top of the world… And can you believe she did that tutorial FOR FREE? I mean, seriously! Join her Facebook group and come have some fun…

Below a little progression of the cookie painting. I swear, I still cannot believe I painted this. Michelle, have I thanked you enough?

The whole tutorial was to make Phil and Sally, ooops, sorry, I meant Jack and Sally, but I ran out of time and had to leave class. My Jack was not in the best of his shape. Still, it’s Nightmare Before Christmas, I am hoping it just adds to the spirit!

SPOOKTACULAR SHORTBREAD COOKIES

This is a sister-post from yesterday’s publication in my main blog, where you can find the full recipe for these babies. I truly loved their taste and texture and hope you’ll give them a try. In these versions, the spooky quotient was increased with skulls and scary eyes. The shortbread has no leavening agent, so it is a good choice to bake the little skulls, molded in a plastic ice cube tray (available here). Just make sure to keep an eye during baking, as they bake fast. It seems obvious, but let me make sure to reinforce it, you do not bake in the tray, you mold them, release them and bake them free. Maybe there are molds out there made of silicone or metal and you could conceivably do the full baking in them.

As to the scary eyes, those were a ton of fun to make. I followed a very detailed tutorial from Heather Salmon, available in the closed Facebook group “Painting with Sugarprism.” She actually shared two different ways, one with isomalt, which I think is even nicer, but because my cookies are donated and I don’t know who gets them, I was afraid that a young kid could choke on the isomalt. It can be a bit hard. So I opted for fondant. My mold had a little hole for the pupils, so I had to do a bit of patching up with extra fondant to get a fully round surface. Then it was all a matter of painting with Sugarprism, and a final spray with PME pearl luster.

The advantage of all the Halloween decorating things, is that you don’t need to be artistically gifted. It is all good in the end. Imperfections just make it all more real.

The little cat was painted with Baby Black luster powder and the eyes with red. I left the skulls plain, straight from baking, but they could look great with bright red eyes also.

The eyes were placed over black royal icing, thick consistency, piped with a petal tip. After it was fully set, I painted a bit of metallic red from RainbowDust on the edges (available here).

Halloween and cookies are a match made in heaven. Or would it be hell? I have quite a few more designs to share, so stay tuned for more spooky things popping up on your screen…

ARE WE SCARED YET?

MARBLED SPOOKY COOKIES

The technique of marbling using dots of gel color on the surface of Royal icing is a nice and straightforward method to generate colorful effects. Recently I saw Marlyn achieve a similar effect by swirling three batches of Royal icing with different colors. She did that on a baking sheet, to get a shallow surface, quite a bit easier to work with the cookies. It all ends up very smooth, with perfect coverage. I picked Halloween-friendly colors and coupled the marbling with spooky fondant decorations or silhouette painting. I ended up feeling pretty spooked. How about you?

This is how Marlyn does the marbling… It is very easy to coat the surface of the cookie when the icing is poured this way, and since the icing needs to be a bit thicker it also covers quite well.

From that point, you can add decorations while the icing is still wet, or wait and glue them later with Royal icing.

For the witch below, I used a stencil and painted the image with a black food pen. The white cookies were just flooded with white icing and painted, free hand with a food pen. That is a simple design, no need to worry about making it perfectly symmetrical or anything.

I tell you one thing, I will be sad when Halloween is over… So. Much. Fun.