Thursday, October 12, 2006

Chocolate Skeleton Cookies

Many of the things I bake are for my daughter, Abbie. Two things are accomplished here- I get to bake, and I have a willing party to eat what is prepared. These cookies are going to the pumpkin patch tomorrow with Abbie's playgroup.

I've seen several recipes for Skeleton cookies, but most are made with a gingerbread cookie. I used a chocolate cookie recipe from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine, and made a few changes. The cookies are delicious, very chocolatey, like an Oreo. The skeleton bones are royal icing. I had elaborate plans for the bones, but modified my design when I saw how little space there was to decorate. I added a little black gel food coloring to some royal icing at the end to make the eyes and nose.

Chocolate Skeleton Cookies
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Droste)
1/2 tsp. salt
12 tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 tsp. good vanilla
1/4 tsp. espresso powder
royal icing (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in egg. Add vanilla and espresso powder. On low speed, mix in flour mixture. Divide the dough in half and form into 2 disks. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 45 minutes, and up to 2 days.
Chill cookie sheets. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick on a floured board. Using a 5 inch gingerbread man cutter, cut out men and place on chilled cookie sheets about 1 inch apart. Chill formed cookies on cookie sheets in the refrigerator about 10 minutes. Bake cookies 10-15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Decorate with royal icing using a pastry bag with a number 2 tip. once cooled completely. Let icing dry overnight before storing cookies.
Makes 22 cookies.

Royal Icing
1/8 cup meringue powder
1/4 cup water
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/8 tsp. good vanilla (optional)

In a small bowl, beat together meringue powder and water until soft peaks form. Stir in sugar until fully incorporated. Add vanilla. Add water as needed to adjust consistency.

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