Candy Corn Sugar Cookies
Halloween is coming!!! Yes, it seems very juvenile to be this excited about Halloween, but who cares? Personally, I think there's something magical about what Halloween's arrival brings. Maybe it's the colors of the changing leaves, the kids rushing to the local Spirit store for their costumes, or the abundance of pumpkin patches that bring the magic. Or maybe it's the indication that the holidays are just around the corner.
With those pro and cons listed, I leave the choice up to you. Both methods will be detailed below for your choosing.
Regardless, the food quarter of the year has officially begun. What's the food quarter? The last three months of the year when all we do is cook, eat, and repeat. So loosen up those belts because you're about to be bombarded with goodies for your feasts and parties.
For this specific post, we're going to showcase a family-friendly baking activity. You can do this with out without the kids. But I've found that letting the kids participate in these Halloween baking sessions keep them preoccupied and allow them to safely celebrate the holidays.
Anyone a fan of candy corn? Me in particular, not a fan of the taste. But there is something so fun about the layered colors. So instead of disregarding candy corn (pretty much the staple of Halloween) all together, I copied the look using a taste I did enjoy: sugar cookies. This is my staple sugar cookie recipe, but sectioned out and dyed with powdered food. You can scour the internet a.k.a. Pinterest for multiple versions of this recipe. I've tried both the baking tin and log method; both have their own benefits. Using a square/rectangle tin means the cookies turned out uniform in size and shape. However, the color layers will alternate from yellow on the bottom to yellow on the top. If you're not a control-freak about the accurateness of how your candy corn cookies look, this is the easier and pretty method. The log method will guarantee that the yellow will always be on the bottom, but the shape of the cookie will vary depending on how perfectly you roll your log.
4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups salted butter (softened)*
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Food coloring, yellow and orange**
*Leave your butter on the counter for approximately 2 hours or more to achieve softness without melting. If you forget and need to microwave the butter, be careful not the melt it.
**I used Color Kitchen Decorative Food Colors From Nature. They can be found at your local grocery store or cooking store. It's a vibrant coloring powder that comes in individual packets. You can use liquid color drops, but be careful not to over do the droplets or your dough will become sticky and need more flour.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt with a wire whisk.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. The sugar-butter mixture will appear whipped and fluffy.
On medium speed, add the eggs and vanilla until well-combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
On a low speed, slowly add the flour mixture. Mix just until combined, careful not to overmix.
Divide the dough in thirds. Add orange coloring to 1/3 and yellow coloring to another 1/3. Leave the last 1/3 section uncolored for the "white" portion of the candy corn cookie.
Square/rectangle tin method: Flatten out the yellow dough to evenly fit into the tin. Next layer down the orange dough to evenly fit into the tin on top of the yellow dough. Lastly, repeat method with the "white" dough on top of the orange. Place a plastic cling wrap directly on top of the layered dough.
Log method: When dividing the dough into thirds, vary sizing so that each one is slightly larger than the one before. Roll out the "white" dough into a cylinder. With a rolling pin, roll the orange into a flat rectangle, just wide enough to cover the surface of the "white" dough. Repeat this step with the yellow dough, ensuring the yellow dough is rolled out to cover the orange dough. Cover tightly with a plastic cling wrap.
Refrigerate for 2 hour.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Square/rectangle method: Remove dough from the tin. Slice the dough into 1/4" thickness. Cut the sliced sections diagonally (alternating slant direction) into mini-triangles across the span of the strip. Repeat until all the dough has been cut.
Log Method: Slice log into 1/4" thick circles. Slice each 1/4" thick circle into "pie" pieces. Each circle produces approximately 6 "pie pieces." Repeat until all dough has been cut.
Bake the cookies for 12-13 minutes, pulling the cookies out just before they start to brown.
Allow the cookies to cool for 2-3 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack. Once cool, enjoy!
***This recipe freezes very well. I like to precut the shapes, then freeze the dough. So all I have to do later is pop them into the oven without struggling to cut a frozen slab of dough.