BOO! Halloween's at hand, and ghosts have to live someplace. Why not spirit them away to this cute—and delicious—haunted house? "I make lots of spooky cookies at Halloween," writes Joanne Woerlein of Etobicoke, Ontario. "Last year I decided to try making a Halloween house out of sugar cookies. It was such fun!"
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ICING AND ASSEMBLY:
- 4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 3 tablespoons meringue powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 6 tablespoons warm water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Blue, green, black and orange paste food coloring
- Pastry tipsround #6 and #3
- Additional confectioners' sugar
- 10 to 14 orange Spree candies
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture. Divide dough into thirds. Chill for 1-2 hours.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out one portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Position house side pattern on dough. With a sharp knife, cut one side piece. Reroll scraps; cut another side piece. Score and cut out window outlines; set window pieces aside. Transfer side pieces to an ungreased baking sheet.
- Roll out second portion of dough. Position house front pattern on dough. Cut out house front; remove scraps. Cut out door and windows pieces; set aside. Reroll scraps; cut out house back. Cut out window piece; set aside.
- Roll out remaining dough into two 5-1/2-in. x 4-in. rectangles for roof pieces. Transfer front, back and roof pieces to ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
- Cut reserved window pieces in half for shutters. Place shutters and door on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 5-7 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.
- To make icing: In a bowl, combine the first three ingredients. Add water and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Beat on hight for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Set aside 1 cup white icing. Tint remaining icing gray, using blue, green and black food coloring; set aside 1/2 cup. Thin remaining gray icing with 2 tablespoons water. Cover icing between uses.
- To decorate: Place front, back, side and roof pieces on a work surface. Insert #6 tip into a pastry bag; fill with 1/2 cup gray icing. Outline windows, doors and edges of house and roof with icing; let dry. Fill in outlines with thinned gray icing.
- To assemble: Transfer remaining thinned gray icing to a bowl. Beat in 1-2 tablespoons confections' sugar until stiff peaks form. Pipe icing along sides of front and one side section. Position at right angles to each other on board. Press into place; prop with cans.
- Pipe icing along inside edge of added stability. Repeat with second side piece and back; let dry. Pipe icing along top edge of house. Position one roof piece; repeat. Pipe icing along top edge of roof pieces. Let dry completely.
- To make decorations: Divide reserved white icing into thirds. Tint one portion black and one orange; leave remaining icing white. Using #3 tip and white icing, outline two large and three small ghosts on waxed paper; let dry. Thin remaining white icing with 1-2 teaspoons water. Fill in ghost outlines. Let dry completely.
- Use orange icing to make three pumpkins; use black icing for three bats. Let dry. Thicken remaining black icing with 1-2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar; pipe faces onto pumpkins and ghosts. Let dry completely. Use a toothpick and thinned white icing to make bat eyes; let dry.
- Finishing touches: To remaining gray icing, add black coloring to make a darker gray. Using #6 tip and dark gray icing, pipe U-shaped designs on roof for shingles; let dry. Thin remaining icing if necessary with water, then spread over shutters and doors; let dry.
- With remaining thickened black icing, pipe a tombstone and "RIP" on the door; let dry. Attach the door, shutters, ghosts, bats and pumpkins with icing. Attach Spree candies to roof. Yield: 1 haunted house.
Originally published as Haunted House in Taste of Home October/November 2003, p8
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