A few Halloweens ago, I baked up a batch of Gingerbread Skeleton cookies. They were made with a fairly typical gingerbread dough – complete with lots of spices and molasses – and I used some white icing (a mixture of powdered sugar, vanilla and milk) to create some spooky designs on the cut out cookies. They were some of my all time favorite cookies, not just because I like gingerbread, but because I loved the way that the decorations came out. The icing was easy to work with and I had a blast fitting all the little bones onto my cookie shapes.
I made the same recipe last year for Halloween, but this year I wanted to go with something a little different. Instead of a gingerbread dough, I made a chocolate dough. It can be rolled out in exactly the same way as gingerbread and holds its shape amazingly well during baking. And it has the advantage of being chocolate, so those of you who aren’t gingerbread fans won’t miss out on decorating a batch of tasty, creepy cookies. The flavor has a nice cocoa feel to it, but isn’t overwhelmingly chocolaty.
I also didn’t want to use the same skeleton decorations that I had in the past (although I did give in and make a few more skeleton unicorns) and spent a long time rifling through my cookie cutter collection to figure out what to do. My gingerbread people cutters – along with a few late-night zombie movie reruns – gave me the idea to use them as a base. I opted for mummy cookies, using melted white chocolate to make the “wrapping.”
The white chocolate worked really well with the chocolate cookie and was easy to work with. You can use a pastry bag or a ziploc with the corner cut off for piping work, but be sure to melt the white chocolate in a separate bowl before you put it into the bag. But don’t feel obligated to stick with mummies, either. Use the white chocolate to decorate your Halloween cookies in any way that inspires you.
Mummy Cookies with White Chocolate Wrapping
(a.k.a. Chocolate Cutout Cookies)
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla extract.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. With a mixer on low speed (or by hand), gradually beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture until the dough just comes together and no streaks of flour remain.
Divide dough in half, shape each piece into a disc, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours (overnight is fine) until firm.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Working with half of the dough at a time, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is approx 1/8 thick. A little thicker is ok, but it should be less than 1/4 inch because the cookies will puff up during baking. Use lightly floured cookie cutters (mine were mostly 2-3 inches) to cut out various shapes from the dough. Place cookies on prepared baking sheet. Cookie dough may be balled up and rerolled a second time. Repeat with remaining refrigerated dough.
Bake cookies for 11-13 minutes, until they are slightly firm at the edges (you can check by poking a corner carefully with a fingertip). Depending on the exact shape of your cookie cutter, baking time may need to be slightly lengthened if you want very large cookies. Cool for 5-10 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 3-4 dozen cookies, depending, of course, on size and shape of your cutter.
For the mummies, you will need:
Melted white chocolate, about 4-oz.
Melt the white chocolate in a small, microwave safe bowl by heating it in 30-45 second increments and stirring frequently until smooth. Scrape into piping bag with a small spatula. Make the “wrapping” by piping horizontal and vertical lines along the contours of your cooled cookie shapes, as though the gingerbread person/unicorn, etc. is wrapped up in white bandages.
Allow cookies to sit for 30 minutes or so on a wire rack until the icing completely sets before eating.