I've always been on the fence about cookie cutters. I've never seemed to have the luck or skill that everyone else does. I have always had issues with my dough sticking (to the table, the rolling pin, to me, etc). I also experienced such frustration when trying to move my newly cut cookies to the baking sheet. They would get ruined or torn or just lose their shape. With the exception of gingerbread men, I gave up for years.
I bought a ton of new Halloween cookie cutters, determined to make it finally work and be an enjoyable experience. Surprisingly, everything was aces. I attribute it to an awesome cookie recipe that doesn't give any guff and a new (to me) process.
Halloween Cookie Recipe:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, soft
- 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla flavor
- 1/2 teaspoon Almond flavor
- 2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350° F. Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Combine dry ingredients and add to mixture one cup at a time, mixing well with each addition. Dough does not require chilling. Divide dough into two balls. Roll out and cut cookies. Bake cookies on ungreased sheet approximately 8-11 minutes. The small cookies I made took about 6 minutes.
I recently discovered and fell in love with parchment paper. I use it practically every chance I get. I buy mine at the dollar store for a buck a roll and the quality is great. I decided to roll my dough out directly onto the parchment paper and cut my cookies. I then gently peeled away the extra dough, using a butterknife to help lift, if needed. My cookies stayed perfectly in place and kept their shape. I then placed the pieces of parchment paper on my cookie sheet and baked. Again, they kept their shape, and once cooled, they came right off the parchment paper. I can't believe how easy it was. I'm going to be making cookies all the time now! Just watch!
The cookie cutters I used here were all by Wilton. I had a variety of small and large shapes. Since you won't be moving the cookies once they are cut, be sure that you're "cutting" them far enough apart so they have room to bake and grow. For frosting, I just mixed confectioner's sugar and bottled water until I got a consistency I liked. I used food and frosting coloring also.
My favorite cookie cutters are the ghosts-- the large and small one. I positioned these ghosts together for a family photo and later thought it looked like a mommy ghost with her babies... until I realized how downright depressing that sounds!
I also really like the Wilton skull cookie cutter. When I bought it, I thought the protruding cheekbones could also serve as make-shift bolts on a Frankenstein cookie if I played my cards right. I didn't bother decorating the bolts, but you get the idea.
My husband and I spent a lovely afternoon baking and decorating Halloween cookies together. Oh and that cat cookie is downright demonic-- not my finest moment. I'm giving them (there's about 4) to a neighbor and hopefully their home doesn't mysteriously become haunted.