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Jack O'Lantern Cookies
The simplest cookies to make during halloween. Truthfully during any time of the year. These are cinnamon spiced, brown sugar cookies that work well on its own or sandwiched with fillings. They are a delicious treat to give to your tricker treaters.
I love a good sugar cookie. They are so versatile and can be used for multiple purposes. Having said this, what makes these cookies so special is the brown sugar in them. It adds for a molasses, caramelized flavor. I do like to add a little vanilla and cinnamon powder to bring out the the earthy flavors.
The recipe itself is very easy to make, we beat the butter until it is pale in color. Add the sugar and beat again. Its this beating that makes for a very crumbly cookie later. It adds air and make the cookie dough very light and almost melt in your mouth. The flavors are added with the egg and its all beaten together. I must admit, you can use an electric hand beater to make these cookies but a wooden spoon works just fine. Add the flour and fold together to form a dough.
At this stage I like o let the dough cool down in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Is it necessary? No. Why do I do it? I believe this step develops the flavor of the dough as well as firms up the dough which ensures easier rolling later. You can roll the cookie dough as thick or thin you like but I like to stick with 1/4 of an inch if I am going t sandwich them with any fillings. I like to roll my dough between cling wrap or baking paper. Better yet you can roll it on a silicon mat as well if you have one. If you have none you can use a kitchen counter top with a generous dusting of flour but it can get more messy.
In saying this you can dunk the cookies once they have been cut out into some granulated sugar for that extra crunch before baking. I have used a jack o lantern cookie cutter you can use any you have and get creative by making your own with baking paper traced cut outs. I love the look of this spooky cookie but if I am honest I find them more cute than spooky! Whatever the cutter you choose, it is always advisable to dip them in flour before using to cut out the dough. This will ensure clean shapes.
Let us understand the baking times. I wouldn’t bake a sugar cookie beyond 12 mins. I bake them in a preheated over at 180℃ on a lined baking tray. I know they are done when the bottom has a little color and the top is dry to touch. It will not be hard when you them out of the oven as they harden as they cool down. With all cookies, you must cool them on a wire rack. So, when you take them out of the oven, let them cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before using a flat spatula/offset spatula/scraper to transfer each one to a wire rack. This will ensure you don’t damage the cookie while transferring. Cool them completely before using. I would recommend to check your cookies at 9 mins and see how they are coloring. You might want to rotate the pan as well to ensure even baking. I always suggest to understand what you are looking for one the product is baked as baking times may vary.
Let us understand substitutions:
Butter – ideally you want to use unsalted butter here but if you have none adjust the salt instead. You can use vegan butters but not nut butters.
Brown sugar – I like using soft light brown sugar. You can use white sugar if you don’t have it. If you use dark brown sugar it will get darker in color and the flavor will be more intense.
Egg – If you want make them eggless, you can use a flaxseed egg.
Flour – I have used all purpose flour, you can use self raising flour, gluten free flour mixture as well.
Flavors – I used vanilla and cinnamon powder here. You can use orange zest, pumpkin pie spice powder, lemon zest, coffee etc.
Salt – Salt is important as it adds flavor to the entire cookie but you can leave it out if you are using salted butter.
Once the cookies have cooled you can melt some chocolate add a little cream to the mixture and make a ganache to sandwich the cookies. I like using dark chocolate and caramelized white chocolate as well. You can use jam, lemon curd, purees, buttercream, frostings of your choice etc as fillers.
The cookies on their own can last for unto 10 days at room temperature in an air tight container. If they have fillings they will only last for a day or two before getting soggy. If you like you can store the raw cookie dough in the freezer for unto 1 month. When ready to use, leave it to thaw and then roll out as needed. These cookies travel well making for a yummy treat on the go without any mess.
Now that we have covered all the basics, let us make some Jack O Lantern Cookies. Happy Baking Ninjas!
Jack O'Lantern Cookies
- Large mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon/Electric hand beater
- Baking tray
- Baking paper
- Wire rack
- 175 gm Butter soft
- 150 gm Brown sugar
- 1 Egg
- 15 ml Vanilla
- 280 gm Flour
- 5 gm Baking powder
- 5 gm Cinnamon powder
- 2.5 gm Salt
- Chocolate ganache
- If you are baking the cookies immediate after rolling out the dough, preheat the oven before you start making the cookies dough to 180℃. If not skip this step.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric hand beater or wooden spatula until it is pale in color. Add the sugar and beat again until creamy.
- Add the flavors with the egg and beat together until combined.
- Add the flour and fold together to form a dough.
- Wrap the dough in cling film or zip lock bag and leave in the fridge for 2 hours to firm up.
- Preheat your oven at this point to 180℃. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Roll the cookie dough 1/4 of an inch. Roll the dough between cling wrap or baking paper.
- Transfer the cookie dough to the baking tray and bake for 10-12 mins until the bottom has a golden brown color and the top is dry to the touch.
- Remove from the oven, let it cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
- Sandwich with fillings of your choice or serve as it is.
- You can check the eggless substitute in the substitute options above.
- You might need a little more flour to bring the dough together if the butter has melted and gotten too soft. But once it forms a dough don’t add any more flour.
- For baking, make sure to follow the guidelines to know whether its done but check the cookies after 9 mins.
- The cookies down spread much hence you don’t need to worry about spacing but don’t touch them to each other before baking.
- Chocolate ganache recipe: heat 50ml double cream, add 25gm dark chocolate into the cream and stir until it has melted. Add 5gm butter and stir. Let it set before using to sandwich your cookies.