Halloween's at hand, and ghosts have to live someplace. Why not spirit them away to this cute—and delicious—haunted house? —Joanne Woelein, Etobicoke, Ontario
- 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
- Orange, regal purple, black and yellow gel food coloring
- Pastry tipsround #6 and #3
- 12 white candy coating disks, cut in half
- New paintbrush
- Red sprinkles
- Additional confectioners' sugar
- Cream-filled oval vanilla sandwich cookies
- Black-covered board
- 2-1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
- Candy pumpkins
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. 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. Bake at 400° for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Roll out second portion of dough. Position house front pattern on dough. Cut out house front; remove scraps. Cut out door and window pieces; set aside. Reroll scraps; cut out house back. Cut out window piece; set aside.
- Roll out remaining dough to 1/4-in. thickness; cut into two 6-in. x 4-1/2-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.
- Reroll scraps; cut out chimney pieces. From reserved front window piece, cut out two 1-1/2-in. x 1/2-in. strips for front shutters; set aside. Discard remaining dough. Cut reserved side and back window pieces in half for shutters. Place the shutters, chimney pieces and door on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 5-8 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 high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Set aside 3/4 cup white icing. Tint two-thirds of the remaining icing orange; thin with 2 tablespoons water. Tint remaining icing purple; thin with 1 tablespoon water. Place a damp cloth over bowl and cover tightly between uses.
- To decorate: Place house front, back and sides and chimney pieces on a waxed-paper lined work surface. Insert #6 tip into a pastry bag; fill with 1/2 cup orange icing. Pipe icing over pieces; let dry overnight. Repeat for roof pieces, using purple icing. Working quickly, attach halved candy disks at random for shingles, leaving space on one roof piece for the chimney. Brush halved disks with purple icing; let dry completely. With a paintbrush and orange gel, add brick designs to house and chimney pieces; let dry. Assemble chimney with icing; let dry.
- To make decorations: Divide reserved white icing into thirds. Tint one portion black and one light yellow; leave remaining icing white. Pipe a web in the corner of the front window with black icing (shown above); let dry. Use black icing to make the bat. Let dry.
- With yellow icing, make a 3-1/2-in. moon; let dry completely. Use a toothpick and white icing to attach red sprinkles for bat's eyes; let dry.
- Thin white icing with 1 to 2 teaspoons water. Using #3 tip and white icing, outline three or more 3-1/2-in.-long ghosts on waxed paper; let dry. Fill in ghost outlines. Let dry completely. Thicken remaining black icing with 1 to 2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar; pipe faces onto ghosts. Pipe outlines and "RIP" or other designs onto oval cookies. Let dry completely.
- To assemble: Transfer remaining orange icing to a bowl. Beat in 1 to 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar until stiff peaks form. Pipe icing along sides of house front and one side section. Position at right angles to each other on work surface. Press into place; prop with cans.
- Pipe icing along inside edge for added stability. Repeat with second side piece and back; let dry. Pipe white icing along top edges of house walls. Position one roof piece; repeat. Pipe purple icing along roof seam. Let dry completely. Attach chimney.
- Finishing touches: Thin remaining purple icing if necessary with water, then spread over shutters and door; let dry. With white icing, pipe “BOO” on the door and stripes on the shutters; let dry completely. Attach the door, shutters and ghosts to house with white icing. Attach bat to moon; attach moon to back of house.
- Place house on a black-covered board; add wafer crumbs, tombstones and candy pumpkins. Yield: 1 haunted cottage.
Originally published as Spooky Cookie Cottage in Halloween Party Favorites 2008, p36
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