Childhood memories and cookies
Some of my most vivid childhood memories involve baking cookies with my mom. Back then, we had no fancy Kitchenaid Mixer to do all the hard work. No, we had a bowl, a wooden spoon, and pure muscle power.
I remember how excited I was when she first trusted me to stir the dough. It was too difficult to do on my own, so she helped me get started and then took over again when my arm couldn’t take it. The culminating activity for the event was licking the wooden spoon. Cookie dough still tastes better to me off of a wooden spoon.
To this day, chocolate chip cookies bring me comfort. These cookies represent a time when I felt safe and secure. All my needs were met, and I had nothing to fear. For me, chocolate chip cookies embody my mother’s love. I think that is why I crave them when things are difficult or sad, or scary. I’ve eaten A LOT of cookies this year. Even though my mom has been gone for more than ten years, when I bake cookies, I feel like she is here with me, holding my hand and telling me it will all be okay. I hope to give my children these same kinds of simple memories.
Making Halloween cookie memories with my kids
This year, because there is so much out of our control in the world, we are going all out for Halloween. We decided to “spookify” some of our favorites to make fun Halloween cookies! As a family, we love getting creative and making “all things holiday” look cute and goofy (emphasis on goofy). These cookies are no exception, thanks to candy eyeballs!
Research suggests that quality time interacting with our kids is essential to raising happy, well-adjusted children. So when we find things that both of our young teenage boys will do with us, we’re all over it! Hopefully, these times will bring them lasting memories as I have of baking with my mom.
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Peanut butter blossom cookies, Halloween style
I love these cookies with Hershey’s Kisses at Christmas time. For Halloween, I decided to turn them into spiders. I made the traditional Wilton recipe for these cookies. Instead of Hershey’s Kisses, I used Reese’s Miniature Cups.
My favorite tool for cookie-making is a cookie scoop. This helps keep all of the cookies uniform, and it is easy to scoop out onto the pan. For these cookies, I tried both the 2 tbs sized and the 3 tbs sized. The larger one gave more room for the spider legs, but I like the candy-to-cookie ratio of the smaller one better. Also, ensure you line the pan with parchment paper so they don’t stick.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and candy eyeballs make cookies awesome
While the cookies are in the oven, unwrap enough Reese’s Miniature Cups for the number of cookies you made. This is an excellent job for a kid if you can keep them from eating them all. Personally, I make them do it to stop myself from eating the whole bag. Put the unwrapped candies into a bowl while you wait; as soon as the cookies come out, press one peanut butter cup, top-down, into each warm cookie. The chocolate will begin to melt. That is what you want to happen.
Next, we put 2 candy eyeballs on each Hershey Miniature cup. The melted chocolate helps the eyeballs stick. Candy eyeballs make everything cuter! I would use them on everything if I could. They always make me laugh!
Make the spider legs out of chocolate
Next, I melted about a half cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave and put it into a disposable decorating bag with a coupler and number 2 tip. The easiest way to fill the bag is to put it into a cup and fold the bag over the edges. That way, you can put the chocolate into it without smearing it all over.
Finally, twist the bag and use the chocolate to draw eight legs on each spider. You may also use chocolate on the back of the eyeballs to help them stick, but mine stuck to Reese’s Cups easily without it. And, if you are anything like me, you might get bored with making spiders. In that case, you can use the chocolate to draw spider webs on the remaining cookies! I like the variety.
Make someone’s day by taking them a plate of these silly Halloween cookies!
Halloween Decorated Sugar Cookies
As a family, we have had a Christmas tradition of decorating sugar cookies for as long as I can remember. I felt we needed more Halloween fun this year, so I grabbed some Halloween cookie cutters and made my favorite cut-out cookie recipe.
It doesn’t have to be complicated
I love making sugar cookies, but I have started purchasing premade sugar cookies at our local grocery store bakery in the past few years. 5 years ago, I would have been horrified at that, but “working Carrie” still wants to have fun with her family, and sugar cookies are quite the process. There isn’t enough time in our schedule. When my kids were little, I would buy a can of white frosting, divide it, and add food coloring. Then I put out sprinkles galore and let them go to town. It was a big, fun mess.
I am here to tell you that you can still have a wonderful experience if someone else makes the cookies and you use a can of pre-made frosting. Some might even say a better one!
Let go of perfection
Now that my kids are older, we go with Royal Icing. Initially, I would decorate cookies with friends of mine who are professional cookie decorators. Their cookies are so beautiful that they sell them every year. I loved to pull all-nighters with them and be in awe of the cookies we were able to make. I felt pretty proud of myself when I would look at what we created. When I added kids into the mix, it became something completely different.
On our first few occasions of decorating cookies, I envisioned beautiful cookies we would package and give away. I quickly learned that my kids (and husband) ‘s most fun part is coming up with their goofy ideas. I have given in and learned to enjoy this… My family is pretty stinking creative, and hilarious. Now I make my own pretty cookies with friends to give away as gifts.
Divide the icing for decorating Halloween cookies
I used Wilton’s Royal Icing recipe on the back of the meringue powder. For shinier cookies, use a recipe that calls for corn syrup.
First, I make the royal icing pretty thick. Then, I separate it for coloring. I put quite a bit in each bowl because I will take some of it to put into bags for piping and add a little water to the rest for flooding. This time we only went with three colors to make it easier. At Christmas, we often have 6 or more different colors. It’s fun but not necessary.
I put the thicker consistency of royal icing into the bags for piping or outlining. Then I water the rest so that it floods easily to fill in the parts we have piped. A bit of trial and error is involved in getting the consistency right. You want the flooding icing to fill in easily but not run all over the place. I add about 1/4 tsp. at a time. If you get it too runny, don’t worry, you can add more powdered sugar to thicken it back up.
Get Creative with the Halloween cookies
The creativity instantly began as the boys started looking at the cookies and figuring out what else they could be. Nobody wanted to make a witch hat; instead, they created a Silverback gorilla and a walrus. Loren somehow turned a bat into the state of California. Next time I think we need a trophy for the most unique idea. It will be a close competition!
We also made good use of the eyeballs. My oldest covered the last cookie with all the leftovers to make a spooky Halloween cookie full of eyes. I think he just wants to eat all of the candy.
Even though we don’t plan to give them away this year due to the pandemic, we still bagged a few up for ourselves. Please make sure the icing has completely hardened before you bag them. Royal Icing sets quickly. I suggest letting them sit overnight if you choose to use a corn syrup recipe.
Rice Krispie Ghosts as Halloween Cookies
I know that Rice Krispie Treats are not exactly Halloween cookies, but they are a fun, easy gluten-free option. To make these little guys, we used a ghost cookie cutter to cut shapes out of our pan of Rice Krispie Treats. Put a little butter inside the cutter to make it easier to get them out, as they can be pretty sticky. Then we stick eyeballs right on. Easy Peasy!
I hope these ideas will spark your imagination and help you have a good time with your family. What family traditions do you have? Leave a comment and let me know!
Here are some products that will help with your Halloween Cookie (and any other day) adventures