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Haunted-House Chocolate Cookies

Photocopy the haunted-house template at 125 percent. Photocopy the spooky tree template at 100 percent. Photocopy the door, tombstone, and triangle stand templates at 100 percent.

  • yield: Makes 1 haunted house, 2 doors, 1 spooky tree, 2 triangle stands, and assorted tombstones

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Ingredients

For the Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Decorations

  • Unsalted butter, for parchment
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Royal Icing and Fleurs-de-lis
  • 5 black licorice laces, 1 lace cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces, halved lengthwise, remaining laces for windows
  • 1 piece black licorice twist (2 inches long)
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • Shelled sunflower seeds for roof tiling plus 1 unshelled for doorway

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Make the cookies: Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 3 additions. Shape dough into 2 disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until cold and firm, about 2 hours.

  2. Step 2

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator, and let stand until room temperature. Lightly dust 2 large sheets of parchment with cocoa powder, and roll 1 disk of dough between sheets to 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer to a baking sheet, and freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes. Remove top parchment sheet, and place haunted-house template on dough. Using a craft knife, cut out house. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough and templates.

  3. Step 3

    Bake, rotating halfway, until firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer parchment with cookies to wire racks, and let cool.

  4. Step 4

    Decorate the cookies: Place a large sheet of parchment on a baking sheet, and lightly butter parchment. Transfer house and doors to parchment.

  5. Step 5

    Make the windows: Prepare an ice-water bath. Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush, until syrup comes to a boil. Boil, swirling pan occasionally, until syrup turns medium amber. Immediately remove from heat, and place pan in ice-water bath.

  6. Step 6

    Working quickly, carefully spoon some caramel into haunted-house windows, doorway, and door windows, filling each flush with top of cookie. Let stand until cool and hardened.

  7. Step 7

    Make the spires: Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/8-inch round tip with royal icing. Carefully flip house over, and pipe a horizontal line of icing just below top edge of lower roof. Press 1 end of each halved licorice lace into icing to form a row of spires.

  8. Step 8

    Make the chimney: Make a vertical 1/2-inch cut in bottom half of licorice twist, then cut off 1 flap. Insert a 1-inch length of licorice lace into top hole of licorice twist. Pipe a 1/2-inch-long vertical line of royal icing just below edge of top roof, and press flat end flush against house into icing. Let stand until set, about 10 minutes.

  9. Step 9

    Make the roof: Flip house over. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip with melted chocolate. Starting at base of roof, pipe 1 line of chocolate along entire edge, then press sunflower seeds into chocolate in a straight row, pointed edge down. Repeat with chocolate and remaining seeds, "tiling" both roofs, and overlapping rows of seeds slightly.

  10. Step 10

    Make the windows and doors: Cut remaining licorice laces to match dimensions of windows. Halve each lace lengthwise. Pipe thin lines of chocolate along window panes. Press licorice into chocolate. Pipe a thin line of chocolate over doorway, and press 4 shelled sunflower seeds into chocolate, centering the unshelled seed in middle. Let stand until set.

  11. Step 11

    Using a small offset spatula, spread a thick line of royal icing along long, straight edge of haunted-house triangle stand. Gently press triangle against back of haunted-house cookie on left-hand side, supporting cookie between 2 large cans. Repeat with second triangle on right-hand side, and let stand until icing is set, about 30 minutes. (Cookie will keep at room temperature for up to 1 week.)

Source
Martha Stewart Living, October 2008

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Reviews (7)

  • flourmaid 26 Oct, 2013

    this will take you to the house
    http://images.marthastewart.com/images/content/web/pdfs/2011Q3/sip-hal-1011-cookie-cutouts-house.pdf
    the tree
    http://images.marthastewart.com/images/content/web/pdfs/2011Q3/sip-hal-1011-haunted-house-cookie-cut-out-tree.pdf
    and the extras
    http://images.marthastewart.com/images/content/web/pdfs/2011Q3/sip-hal-1011-haunted-house-cookie-cutouts.pdf

    XX

  • ShaunaO 10 Sep, 2013

    I really want to make this cake for a Halloween Birthday Party this year but I can't get the templates. Does anyone know where I can access them?

  • heatherward7 30 Oct, 2011

    My sugar melted great and turned amber colour but it won't harden...... why.......

  • angar003 30 Oct, 2010

    The sugar was a real challenge, but after reading the comments about putting the heat higher I turned the sucker up to 1 notch below high and guess what?? After a few excruciating moments of thinking I was going to get crystals again I noticed an amber color beginning. I stirred the sugar so that it would rotate to the bottom where it was burning and therefore turning amber. I have an electric stove if that makes a difference.

  • chefdelamaison 14 Dec, 2008

    I have been successful and unsuccessful with the windowpanes.
    Cook it at a higher heat/flame and it will quickly turn amber colored.
    I have used this for my Xmas gingerbread house this year!
    Good luck!

  • chefdelamaison 14 Dec, 2008

    I have been successful and unsuccessful with making the windowpanes.
    Cook quickly it at a higher heat/flame and it will quickly turn to an amber color!
    Good luck!

  • lashaddiction 28 Oct, 2008

    i dont know what Im doing wrong, I cant get the sugar mixture to turn amber and then it turns back to crystals again, I wish i knew the correct temp. to stop cooking this. Everything else so far has been fun and easy!