Halloween is a holiday I always look forward to but never seem to enjoy when the actual day arrives. I love seeing all the Jack-O-Lanterns and ghost shaped cookies but never get around to doing them myself. I especially procrastinate when it comes to putting a costume together. I’m that crazy person who goes to the costume store on October 30th to find the cheapest item and combine it with random clothes from my closet. On the one day “too much skin for a not so skinny girl” is acceptable, I find the most modest outfit and go bundled in scarves and jackets. I’m probably more provocative in my everyday clothes, which is saying something.
It’s really a shame though because the one year I want to really do something is the one year I’m in a city that doesn’t celebrate. Before I left and before I knew I was leaving, my friends and I bounced back different ideas from Peter Pan to Wicked to Alice in Wonderland, and even Star Trek. I was really enthused about the idea of finding the perfect character. Sigh, it’s probably just one of those reverse psychology situations. What you can’t have you want. I probably would’ve ended up digging through my closet, last minute, and resorted to being Mulan or something. I mean, I’ve got that Asian part down.
Anyhow, I really wanted to celebrate Halloween somehow so I decided to make a haunted house! Or as my younger brother called it, a spooky house! I got the idea to make a frontal only house from this really great book I bought a few weeks ago called Cookie Craft. I took some of their ideas and put my own spin to it.
I also improvised on the chocolate cookie recipe in the book. I didn’t have cocoa powder at my house so I substituted with some Nestle Quick Chocolate Mix. I grew up making chocolate milk with this, so these cookies take me back to when I was little. They smell like chocolate milk but taste more like shortbread cookies with a hint of cocoa. Obviously, these cookies and a cold glass of milk are destined to be together.
Chocolate Milk Cookies
Adapted from Cookie Craft
3 cups whole wheat or all purpose flour
½ cup chocolate milk powder, preferably Nestle Quick
1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
Whisk the flour and chocolate milk powder together. In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Slowly add the flour mixture until combined.
Divide the dough into two and roll between two pieces of parchment paper until ¼ inch thick. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to overnight. When ready, cut the dough into desired pieces and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 16 to 20 minutes or until a darker brown around the edges. As soon as the cookies are done cut the edges straight with a knife and ruler. Cool completely on a rack.
*To make the “stained glass” effect, crush clear colored candy like Lifesavers and put them in the desired area of the cookie before baking.
**The haunted house template uses about half the dough. Use the rest to create other supplementary props for your set such as pumpkins, tombstones, ghosts, etc.
Adapted from Cookie Craft
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon powdered egg whites
3 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food coloring (yellow, red, black, and brown)
Mix all the ingredients together for 5 minutes if using a stand mixer or 10 minutes if using a hand held mixer.
Divide icing into four. Keep one white and color the rest black, orange, and brown.
Attach the roofs to the bodies and let dry. Once dry, attach the side walls and the second tower together. Place a few small cups around the house to keep everything in place. Once all the pieces are firm, decorate!