Who says gingerbread men are just for Christmas? (Really, who does say that? I’m assuming someone does) It’s time to rip off the lederhosen and get ready for a Halloween edition. First we’ll need our little cookie people. I’m calling these gingerbread men because that seems appropriate, but they are not gingerbread at at all. This is what I started making when I whipped up the cookie dough I posted on Monday.
You certainly could use our Gingerbread Cookie recipe, but I’m going for Chocolate.
With one little twist. Okay two twists:
Cinnamon and Orange give these chocolate cookies a warm, spiciness that seems fitting for spooky little Halloweeny people. Also, it’s important to have a really great tasting cookie here because we’re not slathering it in buttercream icing. The cookie has to be able to stand out on its own.
I’m also using royal icing. I was going to do a whole tutorial on it, but I think I’ll come back to that at Christmas time when cookie decorating is in full swing (and I can practice more and find out if I can actually make cookies that don’t look like they were done by a four year old.) If you’re not familiar with it, royal icing is a basic powdered sugar based icing, but it also uses meringue powder. You can fine meringue powder in cooking and craft stores (in the cake decorating aisle) and even at Walmart where they sell Wilton products. There are lots of brands available online as well. You can simply use the recipe for royal icing found on the container of meringue powder you buy, or visit our favorite cookie goddess Bridget, at Bake @ 350, who has a great tutorial, found here. It’s been a while since I’ve dabbled with royal icing; since I discovered Glace, I’ve been going that route (and okay, because me and royal got in a fight a few years back and haven’t talked since), but I’m happy to say that this go-around was a total success! So you may be seeing more royal icing cookies around here! I also used orange extract in my icing.
You want to start with your icing at a nice piping consistency. I put mine in a piping bag and used a number 3 tip. Just freehand some little faces on there; there are actually a lot of ways to do a skull! Try drawing a few out on paper if you’re not quite sure how you want them to look. I’m going pretty basic here. Make sure you get 2 eyes and a mouth if you want one.
I switched to a larger tip for my bones (a #5) so I just started using that one for my faces as well. It’s a little thick, but it worked and I didn’t have to change tips, so just play around with what you have and see what works for you.
I know that after looking at these cookies you will all be shocked to know that I am not an expert in human anatomy. I probably should have consulted my husband since he is an actual expert, but whatever. They’re cookies. I made a line straight down and then doubled over on that bottom bone because, I don’t know, it seemed like it should be bigger. Then just pipe on some ribs.
Then add some little bone shaped bones (bone shaped bones? hmmm…) and a few dots. Because as you all should know, cookie skeletons have only 3 fingers on each hand.
After you’ve finished piping all your cookies to this point, you can fill in your faces. Just take some of your nice, thick icing and put it in a bowl. Add warm water, a tiny bit at a time, while stirring, until it you can hold a spoon up and it slowly drizzles down. Like a thick syrup. Much like the consistency of Glace, if you’ve worked with that one before. I just used a toothpick to drizzle some onto my faces
and then used that same toothpick to spread it around into all of the open spots. The icing should be thick enough that it can hold it’s shape when you drizzle it on, but thin enough that you can easily push it around.
You’ll want to let them dry for several hours so the icing can harden, and if you plan to stack them, then definitely let them dry for a full 24 hours. It’s worth the wait; they’re adorable.
So adorable, that I started thinking they might need accessories. If you want, just color some of your icing and play around with shapes on a piece of parchment. These will need to harden before you use them, so do this step ahead of time if you think of it. (Also, it doesn’t matter if they look super lame like mine, once they go onto a cookie they suddenly look awesome.)
After they’re dry, just attach them to your cookies with a bit of wet icing. I never realized how “cute” skeletons could be!
And somehow they just get cuter when you see a bunch of them together. I love how all of the faces are a little different, and with hearts and bows, they all just take on their own little personalities.
I know; I’m getting too attached. It’s really too bad since I’m going to bite their adorable little heads off.
Skeleton Cut Out Cookies
From Our Best Bites
1 batch Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies with 1 teaspoon orange extract and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon added (or more to taste)
Cut cookies into gingerbread men shapes. Bake and cool completely. Pipe faces on cookies and then remainder of skeleton design. Add water to royal icing until it resembles a thick syrup. Drizzle onto open space in face design and use a tooth pick to spread it out and into the crevices. Let cookies dry completely, several hours or overnight.
To make hearts and bones/bows, use food coloring to tint icing to desired color. Pipe designs onto parchment paper and let dry until hard. Gently remove from parchment and attach to cookies with a dab of wet icing.
Bite cute little heads off.
Yield depends on the size of your cookie cutter; about 1 1/2 – 2 dozen large cookies.
Okay, and here’s possibly the best tip in this post. Let’s say you make your cookies, you do your icing, and somehow you find yourself cursing OBB and their stupid adorable skeletons because yours aren’t turning out quite like you had hoped. Or you realized you just don’t have the time to pipe rib cages onto tiny chocolate men but you don’t want to waste your cookies. Well then I have a plan B for you. Just drizzle icing back and forth all over and dot on two eyes. Tah-dah! Mummy Cookies :)