Cookies are a delicious staple for any party, but what if you could spice them up with a sweet surprise? This fun Halloween-themed recipe puts a twist on the classic sugar cookie by hollowing out the middle and filling it with candy. Your children’s eyes will light up as they break open these cookies to discover hidden candy inside!
–1 batch of dough using your favorite sugar cookie recipe
–2 pounds confectioners’/powdered sugar
–5 tablespoons meringue powder
–2/3 cup lukewarm water
–Fresh lemon juice (for wiping the bowl)
–Pink and black food coloring (for the eyes and cheeks)
1. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
2. Roll out and chill your cookie dough. Then, cut out 3 cookies using a ghost-shaped (or whichever shape you prefer) cutter. Place two of the cut cookies on a baking sheet. Place the third cut cookie on a cutting board, and use a sharp knife to carefully cut out the middle.
3. Carefully transfer the hollowed-out cookie to another baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the cookie dough, making sure to place all of the hollowed-out cookies on a separate baking sheet from the regular ones, as they may require less baking time. Bake the cookies according to the recipe’s directions.
4. While the cookies are baking, make the icing. Using a clean paper towel, wipe the bowl of a standing mixer and the paddle attachment using a few drops of lemon juice. This will eliminate any residual oils that could wreck your icing.
5. Weigh or measure the icing sugar in the bowl of your mixer, then add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl. Mix on low speed for 12 minutes until the icing thickens. After 12 minutes, stop the mixer, and lift up the paddle attachment. The icing should be soft-peak consistency and slowly fold back on itself in a ribbon without quickly sinking or disappearing into the rest of the icing.
6. If your icing is too runny, add another tablespoon or two of icing sugar, and mix on low speed for another minute or so. If you add too much sugar and the icing becomes too thick, add a few drops of water, and mix again.
7. Set aside about 1 cup of the icing in a small bowl, and cover it with a damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out. You will need this later for the eyes, mouth, cheeks, and “glue.”
8. Fit a piping bag with a small, plain tip (either a #2 or #3) and spoon in a little of the icing (from the main bowl of icing). Cover the bowl with another damp tea towel. Pipe a border around the edges of one of the whole cookies. Remember, you will need 3 cookies for each complete candy-filled cookie: 2 whole and one hollow. Only pipe a border around one whole cookie out of the group of 3.
9. Once you have done this to every third cookie, turn the rest of the big bowl of icing into “flood” consistency by adding water a teaspoon at a time and stirring gently. The icing should be smooth, shiny, and able to run off the end of a spoon and disappear or blend into the bowl of icing without being watery. Pour about 1/2 a cup of this icing into a small bowl, add a drop of pink food coloring, and mix together.
10. Pour icing into a squeeze bottle, and set aside. Then fill another squeeze bottle with the white icing, and fill or “flood” your cookies, making sure to keep the icing on the inside of the border you piped.
11. While the icing is still very wet, go back and add two drops of the pink icing from the squeeze bottle for the cheeks. Once all the cookies are finished, allow them to dry for about 5 hours. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the remaining soft-peak icing (in the small bowl) into another bowl, and add a few drops of black food coloring. Fit another piping bag with a number 2 tip, spoon in the black icing, and pipe two dots for the eyes along with a black line for the mouth on the half-dried cookies. Allow the cookies to continue drying overnight.
12. Fit a piping bag with a small plain tip, and spoon in some of the leftover icing from the fridge. Start with one of the undecorated whole cookies, and pipe a border close to the edges.
13. Next, stack a hollow cookie on top. Fill the hollow part of the cookie with small pieces of candy.
14. Pipe another border around the edges, and stack the decorated cookie on top. All 3 cookies should now be sandwiched together. Allow the cookies to dry for at least 6 hours before serving to your guests.
What’s your favorite Halloween-inspired recipe?
Photos and Tutorial by Tessa of Sweet Bake Shop