Halloween has become huge over the last couple of years, and I've always liked the occasion. Autumn is my favourite season and it brings back happy memories of making Halloween costumes, and digging out my favourite winter jumpers and hats.
I'm pretty Pinterest crazy, and some of the Halloween inspired bakes and ideas are amazing. Initially, I had my heart set on making an elaborate orange and purple chocolate Halloween drippy cake (you know the kind I mean), but when my friend decided to host a Halloween party at her house for the kids within our group, I knew that she would have the catering sorted, and that a cake would probably not be needed.
I'm keen to set myself more food photo projects but don't want to be spending hours in the kitchen at at time, and whilst quite frankly I love reading all the veggie/ artistic food blogs out there that show what people really eat for their dinner, by the time I get in from work its dark and my meals are pretty flung together and definitely not particularly photo worthy (although mmm perhaps I could be onto something there - everyday flung together meal photos :) ).
Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent, but for Halloween I decided to try and incorporate some lettering into my bakes, so these chalkboard cookies seemed liked a good idea. The recipe is a simple vanilla shortbread cookie recipe with rolled black fondant on top. The chalkboard effect writing is made with a little royal icing applied with a brush. Now whilst I love looking at decorated / flooded sugar cookies I really didn't have the time or indeed patience to go too detailed so I hastily wrote some lettering on each of the cookies which I must admit was a lot tricker than it seemed. I had visions of lovely modern calligraphy on my bakes with swooping swirls and spiky letters, but writing on a cookie is far harder than you would think.
In the end these turned out not too bad though, and I had some fun styling a few photos.
Vanilla sugar cookies
- 200g unsalted soft butter
- 200g caster sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 400g plain flour, plus more for dusting
- Vanilla extract or pods
- Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and chosen flavouring until well mixed and just becoming creamy in texture. Don’t overwork, or the cookies will spread during baking.
- Beat in the egg until well combined. Add the flour and mix on low speed until a dough forms. Gather it into a ball, wrap it in cling film and chill it for at least 1 hour.
- Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it briefly. Using marzipan spacers, roll it out to an even thickness.
- Use cookie cutters to cut out the desired shapes and, using a palette knife, lay these on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Chill again for about 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 180C/160Cfan/350F/gas 4.
- Bake for 6–10 minutes, depending on size, until golden brown at the edges. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Wrapped in foil or cling film, they will keep well in a cool dry place for up to a month.
- Adapted from the Daily Mail online