Halloween-themed Gingerbread Cookies

Baking date: October 31, 2018

Each Friday night there is a home game for our varsity football team, the families provide a dinner for them and the coaches. I usually don’t get the sign up information until late, and dessert is always taken by the time I log on.

For the final game of the season, we invite the varsity cheerleaders to join the meal. I asked the team mom to put my name down for desserts before she launched the potluck sign up.

I made gingerbread cut out cookies that I could decorate with royal icing. I used a recipe from the Mary Meade’s Country Cook Book:

Ingredients: 1 cup softened butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 beaten egg, 2 cups molasses, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 8 cups flour (yes, 8  cups!), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 tablespoons ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 3 teaspoons baking soda, 1 cup boiling water

Directions: Sift flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg – set aside (for amounts this large, I place all the ingredients in a bowl and use a whisk to “sift” them). Beat egg in small bowl; set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, molasses and vinegar.  Dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water (it will fizz up!). Add water alternately with flour mixture. Chill at least one hour prior to rolling out.  Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes (oven temps and cook times may vary, also the size of the cookie may mean more or less baking time).

I made some generic Halloween-themed cookies, using white, black, orange, red, purple and green cookie icing, a variety of sprinkles, as well as large and regular candy eyeballs. (Wilton also makes bloodshot eyeball candies – next year!)img_2111img_2113

There were also cookies with royal blue and golden yellow cookie icing, which are the team colors. There was also one huge pumpkin that I shaped from the remaining dough.

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Here are the cookies on the plates:

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The players and cheerleaders were well fed and enjoyed the cookies. Thanks for a great season to all of them!

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Football Player Mummy Gingerbread Cookies

Baking date: October 26, 2018

This year, my son helped to coach players in the junior football program he grew up in. The kids on the team he helped to coach are 6th and 7th graders, who are on the D2 team. The D2 team is more of an instructional level than the competitive D1 squad.

My son always played on the D1 squad when he was in the program. His D2 team made it to a “Bowl” game, that took place October 27. Because it was so close to Halloween, I decided to make the players and coaches football player “mummies”.

I used a gingerbread cookie recipe my mom sent me from the Mary Meade Country Cookbook. The edition my mom has is probably from the mid- to late- 60s. The recipe is:

Ingredients: 1 cup softened butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 beaten egg, 2 cups molasses, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 8 cups flour (yes, 8  cups!), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 tablespoons ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 3 teaspoons baking soda, 1 cup boiling water

Directions: Sift flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg – set aside (for amounts this large, I place all the ingredients in a bowl and use a whisk to “sift” them). Beat egg in small bowl; set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, molasses and vinegar.  Dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water (it will fizz up!). Add water alternately with flour mixture. Chill at least one hour prior to rolling out.  Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes (time may vary, depending on your oven and the size of your cut out cookie. The gingerbread man cut out I used was 14 minutes).

When decorating the cookies, I started with an all white royal icing base. I then piped on a black royal icing square where the eyes would go – I got the idea for the eyes from a Nicki Lee Bakes video tutorial. At first, I thought it looked like a bunch of astronauts!

Spacemen

After I added the red royal icing and then candy eyeballs, I added strips of white using a #46 basket weave tip.  I then used royal blue cookie icing (pre-made royal icing, if you will) to pipe on the helmets, with royal icing dyed golden yellow for the facemask and stripes on the helmet. Finally, I added each players’ number in royal blue cookie icing.

Here are the finished cookies for players:

Player Cookies

These are a few on the ones that I made for the seven coaches (including my son), For those, I piped a baseball hat instead of a helmet:

Coach Cookies

And, of course, we can’t forget the Team “Mummy”:

Team Mummy

I placed each cookie in a treat bag. After the game, as the coaches spoke to them, I handed out cookies to the kids and coaches. I also had made cinnamon spice drop cookies (I use butter, not shortening) for parents, siblings and other fans in attendance.

The kids were a muddy mess after the Bowl game:

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Even though they lost, the kids loved the cookies! I believe you should always be paying it forward as much as possible. Cookies were one way I could do that for these kids.

Below is a slide show of my gentle giant (Walkersville High School varsity O-line tackle), with the kids throughout the season.

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Halloween-Themed Playoff Cupcakes

Baking date: October 30, 2015

Both my boys’ junior league teams made the football playoffs this year. As is my tradition, I make goodies for the boys after each playoff game, with the hope that we make it to the SuperBowl.

I had hoped a couple of images I had created and posted on Facebook football groups would provide the players with additional inspiration:

JV and Varsity

The first of the playoff games on the way to the SuperBowl fell on Halloween. Cupcakes are the easiest thing to make in terms of individual treats and I decided to decorate them in team colors (royal blue and gold), but with a spooky look.

First I made candy melt spider webs in yellow (one of the team colors). I also made extra cupcakes for the fans at the games and created vibrant green candy melt spider webs. I only made the “half web”, not the whole web.

As the spider webs were setting, I added sugar sprinkles in gold on top of the yellow ones.

The cupcakes were a simple yellow cake box mix. I dyed the icing using royal blue dye. I used a 1A tip to pipe on a “monster” and used sugar eyeballs. I then added on the spider webs I had created.

Here are the monster cupcakes in my fridge:

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But to me, they looked like a royal blue version of the poop emoji:

Right?

Right?

I thought, what 12 or 13 year old boy wouldn’t love a cupcake decorated to look like poop? Here are the two trays (there were exactly 24 players and coaches).

I posted an inspiration photo of the treats on the team’s Facebook group page:

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I also made additional cupcakes for the fans and families in attendance because I had a feeling this would be the last game for the JV team. They were up against the top seeded team. And I was right; they lost the game and their season came to an end.

Here are the extra cupcakes with the vibrant green candy melt spider webs. I didn’t swirl on the icing for more poop emojis. I only used one eyeball on these cupcakes:

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There were two trays of this version of the cupcake

For the varsity team, we were the #1 seed in our quarterfinal game. We had come off an undefeated season and expected to make a run through the two playoff games on our way to the SuperBowl. I planned to make more elaborate creations once we got to the semi-final and then the SuperBowl. Full disclosure – I also ran out of royal blue dye and wouldn’t have had enough frosting to make more poop emoji monsters, so I just covered the top of the cupcakes with some frosting, the candy eyeballs, and a yellow spider web candy melt.

Here’s the varsity version:

Once again, I was lucky that the number of players and coaches was 24.  I posted an inspiration picture on the Facebook team group page:

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But for my son Alex, his teammates, and coaches, the road to the SuperBowl ended that day. It was a sad day for the boys, but I have had the honor of watching them become fine young men over the past six years.

While the ending wasn’t so sweet for either of my boys’ teams this year, I’m grateful to have good boys, with good friends, who play on good teams to cheer for.

Halloween Treats for Co-Workers

Baking date: October 25, 2015

It’s that time of year my co-workers look forward to — holiday after holiday when I fire up the oven to try new recipes and celebrate. For Halloween this year, I made a Halloween raindbow party cake.

The recipe and instructions for this cake are pretty simple (if you can get past the silly costume she’s wearing in the video). When it comes to the main cake batter, I make 6 cupcakes from that. It leaves enough batter to complete the “rainbow” cake, without having it climb over the side of the bundt pan while it’s cooking in the oven.

I used a chocolate fudge cake mix for the main batter and added in a bit of black coloring to darken it. The white cake mix I separated and dyed orange and violet.  I dyed the icing black, orange, and purple. I topped it with some Halloween-colored jimmies (the ones second from right in the product photo).

Here’s the cake decorated and ready to head to the office:

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and here’s the inside:

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This cake looks different every time you make it, depending on how the batter is poured in and settles during baking. I’ve also made this in a version with color schemes for Christmas (red, green, white), Easter (yellow, pink, light purple), Winter (two blues and white with peppermint extract in only 1/3 of one of the icing colors because it is so strong), and breast cancer survivor (white, light pink, hot pink) versions. This cake is great for school colors also.  Baking time: I find this cake takes about 45 – 50 minutes to bake.

Bakers note: I always add a tablespoon of vanilla to box mixes to make them taste a bit more homemade. I also substitute canola oil for vegetable oil because — to me — the cake is more moist and light.

Then, there were the sugar cookies with royal frosting. To help save time, I used refrigerated cookie dough. I made royal frosting, separated it and dyed it orange, kelly green, and violet.

I love using royal frosting, but it is messy. I end up with it all over myself! And it took most of my Sunday to decorate so many cookies (approx. 84).

Some cookies completed - so many more to finish up!

Some cookies completed – so many more to finish up!

Here are the cookies, with a fairly unique design for each one. The exception are the plaids — I didn’t have as much frosting as I thought and worried I wouldn’t have enough to “flood” every cookie. I used Halloween themed jimmies, sugar sprinkles, and candy eyeballs to decorate the royal frosting.

My colleagues enjoyed these SPOOKtacular treats (sorry, was that as cheezy as the chick in the rainbow cake instruction video?)

Spider Web Cupcakes and Candy Corn Cookies

Baking date: October 31, 2014

This year, my older son’s football team made it to the playoff round on the way to a possible Super Bowl game for the youth league he plays in.

The first round of playoffs was November 1, so I decided to make Halloween-themed treats for the players, coaches, and family/fans in attendance.

I started with the candy corn cookies.  These are a time-intensive sugar cookie, but so cute. The recipe also makes quite a few cookies, although they are small.

A note about the recipe … I’m thinking 7-10 minutes might be a little long if you cut your slices thin. Why, you ask? Well, here’s why:

7-10 minutes = blackened candy corn sugar cookies

7-10 minutes = blackened candy corn sugar cookies

I then baked the next batch for 7 minutes and they came out just fine:

Much better

Much better

Kids and adults alike enjoy this recipe. And as I mentioned, you get a lot of cookies from it.

I also made cupcakes for the players and the coaches. I used a cake mix by Duff Goldman called Blue Suede. I agree with some of the Amazon.com comments that it isn’t royal blue like the packaging, but more like Tiffany blue. I purchased it at my local grocery store (Giant Food). There is a small food color packet inside, and it has a hint of blueberry flavor. I also have a blue velvet recipe I have used before.

I added vanilla frosting on top, dyed golden yellow. I then drew circles on top with blue sparkle gel frosting. Using a toothpick, I made the spider web design so that the cupcakes were the team colors, but with a Halloween theme. I started running out of the blue sparkle gel, so the last 12 cupcakes just had blue dots on them.

Yellow gold and blue spider web cupcakes

Yellow gold and blue spider web cupcakes

Here are the cupcakes and the cookies:

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The boys won their game, and moved on to the semi-final game on November 8.  More to come on that game soon!

Spider Web Caramel Apple Cupcakes and Perfectly Pumpkin Cookies

Baking date: October 29, 2014

Each year at Halloween, I make treats for my co-workers. This year, I had found a new flavor of cake mix and frosting. I decided to give it a try for this treat. It’s caramel apple cake mix and frosting.

Caramel apple cake mix and frosting

Caramel apple cake mix and frosting

To give the cupcakes a Halloween feel, I used Halloween-themed paper liners. I also made the spider web design on them using orange and black sparkle gel frosting. It’s a very easy technique. You make circles on the cupcake after you have frosted it, and using a toothpick, draw lines down from the center to the edge.

This is how the cupcakes turned out:

One of my co-workers who tried the cupcake turned to me after a bite and said, “Oh. My. Damn.”  I’m going to take that as a thumbs up for this effort and this flavor.

I also made some pumpkin spice cookies, with cream cheese frosting. This is a box cookie mix I found last year, and people love it.

Perfectly pumpkin cookie mix and cream cheese frosting

Perfectly pumpkin cookie mix and cream cheese frosting

These cookies are soft and yummy, and the cream cheese frosting is a great compliment. I made the cookies, and added Halloween-colored sprinkles on top.

Perfectly pumpkin cookies

Perfectly pumpkin cookies

Perfectly pumpkin cookies 2

Perfectly pumpkin cookies 2

All the perfectly pumpkin cookies

All the perfectly pumpkin cookies

The cookies and cupcakes were gone before the end of the day.

Can’t wait to try out some new recipes with my team as we head toward the year-end holidays. They are great taste testers!

 

Spider Web Cupcakes

Baking Date: October 26, 2013

I was invited to a neighborhood Halloween party by one of the football moms from my oldest son’s team. Since I never hit a party empty-handed, I decided to make spider web cupcakes.

I used a devils food box mix for the cupcakes, with purple liners. I dyed vanilla icing orange, and frosted the cupcakes.

Then I used black sparkle gel frosting to create the beginning of the web.  I place one dot in the center, draw a circle around that, and another circle around that. Using a toothpick, I drag it through the icing from the dot on top down to the edge of the cupcake, making lines out from the center. I wipe off the toothpick between cupcakes.

Cupcake up close

Cupcake up close

Each cupcake looks different

Each cupcake will look slightly different

In the box and ready to go to the party

In the box and ready to go to the party

Happy Halloween!