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Monster Doll Cookies

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These spicy cookies are sure to cast spells on anyone brave enough to try them. They are a great addition to the Halloween treat table or you can present them in cellophane bags as party favors. Either way, guests will have fun invoking their own magic with pins made from candy and toothpicks.

The wiry doll hair is made from licorice laces. You can find these at most bulk candy stores and online. Cherry flavored black licorice laces made by Wilton can be found in the cake decorating aisle at most craft stores.

Baking

Cinnamon Spice Cookies
Yield: One dozen doll cookies

Equipment
5-inch Gingerbread Boy cookie cutter
Plastic straws
Parchment paper

Ingredients
3½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
½ cup molasses – not black strap, and preferably “golden”, “mild”  or “sorghum” molasses
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda, and salt into large bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat butter in another large bowl at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add brown sugar; beat 1 minute. Add molasses; beat until fluffy about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend.

Gather dough into ball. Roll to ½-inch thickness between two sheets of wax or parchment paper. Note: It’s important to roll the dough thicker than usual so the baked cookie will be soft enough to be pierced with the toothpick “pins.”

Transfer to refrigerator and chill for 4-6 hours. Note: The dough can be made up to 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 (or 3 if you have them) baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from refrigerator and remove the top sheet of wax paper. Use a large gingerbread boy cutter to cut dough.

Gather scraps, roll out dough, and cut more cookies, repeating until all dough is used. Place 4 cut-outs per sheet, then transfer the sheets with the cut-outs to the freezer.  Freeze for 10 minutes.

Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are firm on top and slightly darker around edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for only two minutes. Carefully punch four holes at the top of the gingerbread boy’s head with a plastic straw. The pan will be hot, so be careful! Have several straws on hand in case the one you are using becomes clogged.

Decorating

Materials
12 oz black licorice laces (strings), about 60 12-inch strands
¼ cup ready-made white rolled fondant
2 tbsp liquid black food coloring or black gel food coloring thinned with water
2 tbsp corn syrup
Red sanding sugar
2 Fine-tipped artist’s brushes
Small decorator’s piping tip or small bottle cap (about ¾-inch)
Marker lid or other lid smaller in circumference than the piping tip or bottle cap (about ½-inch)
120 Mike and Ike candy pieces (you may also use candy Dots or Hot Tamales)
120 toothpicks

Doll hair:

Evenly thread long licorice laces through each hole at the top of the cooled cookies.

Gather the laces or “hair” together and gently tie with another lace.

A single knot will do, and it’s best not to pull the laces too tight or they will break.

Button eyes:

Place black food coloring in a small condiment cup and have your artist’s brush ready to hand. Knead fondant for two minutes then roll out on a protected work surface. If fondant is sticky use confectioner’s sugar to dust the work surface before rolling it out. Cut 12 round pieces of fondant using the large end of a small piping tip or use a small bottle cap. Use the marker lid or other smaller lid to make an impression inside each circle.

Load the fine-tipped artist brush with food coloring and paint an “X” inside the circle and then paint a dot at each end to represent button holes. Repeat with remaining fondant pieces and allow them to dry for a few minutes, or until the “X” is doesn’t smudge. Using a clean artist’s brush, dab a small amount of corn syrup on the back of the “buttons” and affix to the cookie doll’s head, pressing gently to adhere.

Stitches:

Load a fine-tipped artists’ brush with black food coloring. Draw a large “X” to beside the button eye to represent a missing button eye. Paint a 1-inch horizontal line under the doll’s eyes for the mouth and make several vertical lines to represent stitches. Reload brush with food coloring as needed.

Draw a long vertical line from the middle of the doll’s chest to the bottom of the cookie where the legs meet.

Make several short horizontal lines to represent stitches. Repeat the “stitching” process on the tips of the doll’s feet and hands (shown).

Sugar heart:

Load a clean paintbrush with corn syrup and paint a heart onto the left side of the doll’s chest.

Pour sanding sugar over the painted heart and press it into the corn syrup gently with a finger.

Turn cookie onto its side and tap off excess sugar.

The sanding sugar will stick to the corn syrup revealing the heart shape.

Candy pins:

Press each candy piece onto one end of a toothpick. Dolls can be presented with 10 candy pins each. Package the dolls and pins together in a clear cellophane bag for party favors.

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Heather Baird is an accomplished painter and photographer, but her passion is creating eye-popping, mouthwatering desserts. She writes about her adventures in the world of creative dessert-making on her award-winning blog, SprinkleBakes. She is the author of the new baking book, SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire your Inner Artist. Heather lives in Knoxville, Tennesee, with her husband Mark and two mischievous pugs, Biscuit and Churro.