Spirit of Halloween Cookies
1 C. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 C. concentrated frozen orange juice, thawed
3 T. orange liqueur (such as Triple Sec)
1/2 C. light brown sugar, packed
1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 2 t. water)
1/2 C. unsalted butter, softened
3 T. concentrated frozen orange juice, thawed
1 1/2 T. orange liqueur
2 1/4 C. powdered sugar
2 t. corn syrup
Ground walnuts, orange sanding sugar, optional decorations
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
For the cookies: In medium bowl with mixer on high speed, cream the butter, concentrated orange juice and liqueur until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add brown and granulated sugars and egg, mixing on high speed 2 minutes until light and combined.
In small bowl, combine flour and baking powder, stirring until baking powder is evenly distributed into flour. With mixer on low speed, add half of flour mixture to creamed butter mixture, just until combined. Add remaining flour and stir by hand until soft dough forms and no flour remains in bowl.
Press dough into 8-inch diameter disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 6 hours or overnight. Dough can be prepared 4 days in advance.
Lightly flour table and rolling pin. Roll dough 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Cut cookies close together using pumpkin cookie cutters, minimizing amount to re-roll.
In small cup, lightly beat 1 egg with 2 teaspoons water. Place cookies on sheets and brush lightly with egg wash. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are light brown. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool 4 hours before frosting or packing.
For the frosting:
In medium bowl with mixer on high speed, cream butter, orange juice and orange liqueur until light, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Mix on low speed. Add remaining powdered sugar and corn syrup; Mix on medium until smooth, light and glossy.
To decorate the jack-o-lantern cookies: Spoon about 2 teaspoons frosting (more if desired) on a medium cookie. With a sharp knife, use a swirling, up-and-down motion to create the pumpkin look. Sprinkle ground nuts at top for stem. Lightly dust with orange sanding sugar.
If not frosting the cookies, brush the cookies with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar and nuts before baking. Cookie yield will vary with dough thickness and size of cutters.
Makes 30 cookies.
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