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Winter is fast approaching, and now is the time that little ghouls and goblins are getting ready for that parade through the streets, during the celebration of All Hallow's Eve. Traditionally, Halloween is believed to be the day when the dead spirits rise from their graves and come back to inhabit bodies of the living for the next year. To discourage the spirits, the living would dress up in ghoulish costumes and run around the town creating havoc to drive the spirits away.
The tradition of pumpkin carving is said to have come from the Irish folklore. A man named Jack is said to have trapped the devil up a tree by carving a cross into it. Jack then made a deal with the devil to never tempt him again, and he would let him go. When Jack died he was denied access to heaven and hell, but he was given an ember to light his way through the frigid darkness. It was placed in a carved out turnip to keep it burning longer. Thus, the Jack-o-lantern was born. When the Irish moved to America they discovered that pumpkins were more plentiful than turnips and easier to carve. This evolved into the tradition we have today. When the pumpkin-carving is done, save the seeds to make a Halloween favorite, toasted pumpkinseeds, or cockroach shells. You could have cookies baking in the oven while you are carving pumpkins or, for the younger children, have them help you make some of the cookies suggested below while the older kids do the carving.
There are two flavored cookies in this recipe: chocolate and gingerbread. The cookies are dense and not very sweet, but this is necessary for keeping their
shapes during baking. If you use white flour or sugar they may be tastier but
they won't look like...umm...the "contents" of a litterbox! Chocolate ingredients:
1/2 cup honey
2/3 cup (1 and 1/3 stick) butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla or peppermint extract
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
2/3 cup(1 and 1/3 stick) butter or margarine
2 and 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
spices--ginger, cinnamon, and cloves to taste (1/2 tsp each)
peanut butter chips
Microwave the honey until it bubbles (about 1 minute). Add the butter and the
molasses, if any. Add the egg, mix well, then mix in all of the other ingredients.
Add mix-ins of your choice to some or all of the batter.
Chill 1 hour in the freezer or several hours in the fridge. Roll dough logs
of random length and the diameter of cat "poops". Roll logs in grape-nuts and
bake at 350 degrees till done (10 to 15 minutes).
Serve in a disposable cat litter box on a bed of grapenuts, with a cat litter
scoop. I hear you get lovely effects by decorating the box and scoop with
melted chocolate or pudding!
NOTE: This recipe worked especially well at my Halloween party where the
table was already decorated with plastic flies!
With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat egg whites and sugar with orange
peel and baking powder until blended. Gradually add nuts and flour, beating
until mixture is thoroughly mixed. Cover and chill until firm enough to
handle, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
Lightly flour your hands and pinch off a 3 tb size piece of dough. On a
lightly floured board, use the palms of both hands to evenly roll an 8 inch
long rope. Cut rope in half; roll each half out again to 8 inches. Fold 1
inch of each end back onto rope; pinch ends to make bone-end shapes. Repeat to
shape all the dough. Place bones 1 inch apart on buttered and flour-dusted 12
x 15 inch baking sheets. Bake in a 325F oven until cookies are lightly
browned on bottoms, about 20 minutes.
Preparation Time: 40 minutes, plus chilling time
Here are some useful tips for decorating cakes and cookies for Halloween:
To make Black Cake Frosting, add blue food coloring to chocolate frosting to get black frosting. You can also buy black food coloring from a craft store that carries a wide selection of Wilton Cake Decorating supplies.
I have never tried coloring confectioner’s sugar but do color regular sugar by
mixing it half and half with flavored gelatin powder (Jell-O). I use this to
sprinkle on the top of sugar cookies. The color seems very pale but intensifies as the cookie bakes. It also adds a different flavor than you would get with sugar alone. Depending on what you plan to do with the confectioners sugar, this might be a way to color it.