Friday, 1 November 2013

Reviving Halloween Traditions

I love Halloween. I remember trick or treating as a kid growing up in Canada. I remember decorating sugar cookies in school there too. And making pumpkin pies, carving pumpkins and roasting pumpkin seeds. I loved it. Now I have Isadora I want to introduce her to some of this stuff too. We were going to carve some pumpkins but did not get round to it. We baked sugar cookies instead. I have not had them for about 30 years!

We also decided to bake a chocolate Guinness cake (courtesy of Nigella Lawson) because it will be Grandma's birthday soon and well we may as well celebrate tonight. What better than a deep dark rich cake on All Hallow's Eve?

All this was after going to IKEA and making ratatouille for dinner.

I used this sugar cookie recipe from All I would need to tweak a few things to get it to taste just right for me. But it was the first sugar cookie I had had for about 30 years and boy did it bring back memories. These cookies are great for cutting into shapes and decorating - and they make great gifts! I cheated (a lot) with my icing by whipping up some Betty Crocker Vanilla icing I only added a little sour cream and milk to thin it and make it less sweet. It wasn't exactly right for decorating cookies but I knew it would colour well and taste good enough. I was also more interested in letting Isadora have a good play with the icing. She loves getting involved in cooking!

So first of all we made the cookies. We rolled out the dough and Isadora helped me roll them out. The recipe is for 60 cookies but we cut it down to 24 or thereabouts. I suppose it depends on the size of your cutters. We had plenty of small bits left over so we made them into tiny pebble shaped cookies for Isadora to nibble on. These are some of the baked shapes here. 

Spooky Cookies

We decided to leave the cookies to cool overnight and ice them in the morning. It was time to clean up and Isadora got stuck into the washing up with Grandma.
Getting stuck in

The next morning we set to with icing our cookies. We made green for the pumpkins and Frankenstein, black for bats, and orange for the pumpkins. Isadora loved mixing the colours and had a, shall we say avant garde approach, to cookie decorating! She loved it, especially piling the icing into her chops when we were not looking!

Biscuit batch

We left the icing to set whilst I baked the cake and then we set off for IKEA. When we got back Isadora helped me decorate a few cookies before leaving me to finish up icing cookies and cake.

After all that effort we had a dinner of ratatouille and burgers followed by Guinness birthday cake and sugar cookies.They were really tasty, and we have to stop Isadora from climbing on the table to snaffle extra cookies! We finished off our Halloween with a few little fireworks. Isadora had a great time and I loved seeing her face light up when we watched the fireworks. Next year we carve pumpkins, make pie and get dressed up for trick or treating, oh and maybe make more sugar cookies....

Platter of ghoulish nibbles


  1. Ambidexdrous mixing-very impressive

    1. Thanks Celia. She loves mixing and it's a great help. Well, most of the time.....