Halloween Sugar Cookies and Pumpkin Carving
|My Harry Potter|
I love this time of year. I have the greatest memories of Halloween, as a kid, my mom always took Halloween to the next level. We had carving parties through the night, the most incredible painted faces, homemade costumes (one year I was a mailbox - you can make ANYTHING out of cardboard), donuts and chili on Halloween night for us and all of the neighbors. It really was a blast for me growing up, and now it is my chance to be a kid again, without any reservations, for one night of the year.
|Our friend Noni had quite the fortune...|
|Zombie Jason...watch out!!!|
Confession: I have a serious addiction to Halloween. Every year, for the last 11 years, my husband and I have thrown a monster carving party with oodles of food, crazy Halloween music, a giant bonfire, and some of our very best friends. I hope that they have had as much fun as I have over the years, even with the wind and snow trying to freeze us out, it manages to be fun! Now, with most of us having kids, the party is all about watching the kids color and carve pumpkins and seeing their eyes light up when they see the pile of goodies that will be theirs at the end of the night. They all come in costume and it is so fun to see how much they have grown and changed since the last party. The kids are for sure the highlight of the night.
|Very spooky chocolate pumpkin cupcakes|
|Goodie bags for the kids filled with earthworms and other surprises!|
One thing that has evolved over the years is the menu. It started out as chili and caramel apples, and has taken a turn to pizza and sandwiches, fajitas, and pulled pork sandwiches. I have so much fun cooking for this thing. My kitchen turns into a giant swirl of flour and sugar and by the time I am done...Halloween is everywhere. It's a great excuse to clean the kitchen from ceiling to floor. We have dipped apples into gooey caramel and drizzled chocolate, made piles and piles of homemade fudge, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, spread ganache over the richest of chocolate cakes, and stirred caramel popcorn laced with all kinds of goodies. Some things turn out better than others, some things you swear you've died and gone to heaven, and some you wish you never made, but that is how we learn and grow.
|My dinosaur loves his big claws!|
This year, my favorite thing was the sugar cookies. I have this fantastic recipe from my father's great-grandmother ( I love that this recipe is so old, family history definitely includes recipes). Whenever I make them, I think of my dad, he loved them. Let me just tell you that these are no ordinary sugar cookies, they are huge and fluffy and soft. I can't stand crispy sugar cookies or even store bought dough, I think it is because I have been spoiled by these all of my life. Everyone that has one of these bad boys melts into a puddle of goo and sugar, and I love it.
|Love that these boys wear the same shoes...Cameron and Austin!|
In memory of my dad, who wore Devil horns on Halloween, I am sharing this recipe. Treat it well...it is very special to me and sure to change the way you think about sugar cookies. A little word of advice: be patient, use a lot of flour when you roll these out, roll them THICK (1/3-inch), and make sure you have a lot of little hands to help you with these - kids and sugar cookies just belong together!
MOON FAMILY SUGAR COOKIES
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup cream
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups flour (I usually use 4 cups)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter for a minute or two, until it is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat again until it is pale yellow and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Mix in vanilla. Scrape down sides of bowl, and mix again.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt.
Add flour and cream, alternating in batches until they are mixed in. The dough will be very sticky. Lay out some plastic wrap, scrape the dough over the wrap, seal it and refrigerate for at least an hour.
On a very well floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/3-inch thick. (When you roll, stop and rotate the dough, making sure that there is enough flour underneath to prevent sticking - this is why I usually stop at 4 cups of flour, a lot of flour is added when you roll.) Cut desired shapes with floured cutters and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Tops and edges will be very light, do not over-bake. Re-roll and cut dough as necessary.
Frost with buttercream, however you like, we tend to be a little spooky!