Jeff and I are going to visit our friends Chris and Jenny this afternoon. They have two little girls, and elder daugther Myra likes my cut-out sugar cookies. She specifically requested that I bring some. Of course!
I knew I had some fall cookie cutters, such as pumpkins, leaves, and acorns, but no Halloween monsters or scary things. Not wanting to make a special trip "into town" (which is kind of a hassle at 6 miles away, and yes I am living in pioneer days), I decided to put my master's degree to good use and actually be creative. When I first started getting into cut-out cookies a few years ago, I bought one of those big plastic canisters that contain around twenty cutters. If you buy one, prepare to be mildly disappointed by the handful of generic shapes that often lurk near the bottom, like ovals, circles, and squares. What to do with these?
As you can see, you turn the oval into a mummy face, the circle into a spider web, and the square into a Frankenstein head. Here they are, adding a note of pure terror to my other fall cookies.
The cookies that took the most time and effort were the spider webs.
I found inspiring examples of the green and purple web design here, but I wanted my spiders to be more realistic. So I chopped the tip off a chocolate chip--I know, alliteration makes my skin crawl too--and sank it mangled-side-down into the wet icing. For the legs, I used tweezers to apply those chocolate sprinkles that resemble tiny logs. The tweezers are for accuracy and because I am a lunatic. "Jeff, I think I should make eyes," I told my husband.
"Hmm, maybe," he said. "Try doing one and see how it looks."
So using a toothpick, I put two specks of icing on one of the chocolate chips, and then I tweezed a single white sprinkle onto each speck.
"Yeah, that's really cute. You need to do that with all of them."
So I did that with all of them.
Here's how you make the webs: flood a circular cookie with black icing. Then pipe on two or three circles of purple and green icing (or whatever colors you like) target-style, over the black, leaving some black in between. While everything's nice and wet, drag a toothpick from the center of the target to the cookie's perimeter, and go all the way around like this. Instant awesome web.
Spider placement tip: put the beheaded chocolate chip over any problem areas. No one needs to know!
Recipe for these time-consuming (but still worth it) cookies is here.