To add bushels of fall flavor to your birthday bash, try baking up this cookie scarecrow shaped and decorated by the Crafting Traditions kitchen crew. It starts with Vickie's sugar cookies. "The recipe is a winner with my family and friends," Vickie says. "I am always asked to bring it—or even make it—for people." The scarecrow's easily adapted for other themes besides. For example, try a clown with bouncing balls or an athlete with baseballs instead.—Vickie Wade, Bourbonnais, Illinois
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 4 tablespoons water
- Blue, green, red and yellow liquid or paste food coloring
- 3/4 cup vanilla frosting, divided
- Pastry tips- #18 open star and #5 round
- 1 large green gumdrop, sliced into thirds
- 1 large red gumdrop, sliced into thirds
- 1 large black gumdrop, sliced into fourths
- 1 yard thin ribbon, cut into 6 pieces
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and extracts. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut into two 4-in. squares, four 4-in. x 2-in. rectangles, a 5-in. x 1-1/2-in. rectangle and 3-in. x 3/4-in. rectangle. Place the 5-in. and 3-in. rectangles together on a ungreased baking sheet to form scarecrow's hat.
- Place remaining pieces 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Round edges of one 4-in. square to form scarecrow's head. With a straw or toothpick, make holes so cookie pieces can be attached later with ribbon (there should be one hole in hat, two holes in head, five holes on 4-in. body and one hole in each arm and leg). Cut out remaining dough with a 2-1/2-in. round cookie cutter for pumpkin cookies. Place on ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately remove small round cookies to wire racks to cool. With straw or toothpick, reopen holes in scarecrow pieces. Carefully remove scarecrow pieces to wire racks.
- Place a tablespoon each of water in four small bowls; tint each with a different color of food coloring. Using a small pastry brush, paint hat, arms, body and legs as shown in photo above. Combine red and yellow water to make orange. Use orange- and green-tinted water to paint round cookies like pumpkins.
- Tint 1/2 cup of vanilla frosting yellow. Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert star tip. Fill bag with yellow frosting. Pipe straw on head, body, arms and legs. Attach gumdrop pieces with frosting to form eyes, nose, cheeks, buttons and patches.
- Tint remaining frosting black. Prepare a second plastic or pastry bag, insert round tip. Fill bag with black frosting. Pipe frosting in a stitch pattern around eyes, mouth and patches. Let frosting dry for 30 minutes.
- Place scarecrow pieces on a covered board; carefully tie pieces together with ribbon. Arrange pumpkins around the scarecrow. Yield: 1 scarecrow and about 1 dozen pumpkins.
Originally published as Sugar Cookie Scarecrow and Pumpkins in Country Woman September/October 1998, p43
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Reviewed Nov. 29, 2011
"The kids loved this!"