Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I’m surprised to see that Warsaw seems to have embraced the Halloween holiday.

At least, I’ve seen several more stores selling Halloween decorations and costumes here than I ever saw when we lived in Istanbul. And other expat friends with children in the international schools here have been busy celebrating Halloween-themed parties.

At home, I’ve been busy baking Halloween-themed treats! Just yesterday I hosted a baking class for a group of the international ladies I’ve met here. I taught them how to make Halloween cut-out cookies with fondant, meringue ghosts, an American pumpkin tart and chocolate shortbread bats and black cats. It’s been a busy week, but it’s been a lot of fun too!
Some leftover goodies from our Halloween baking class. I'll be sending these cookies with my husband to the office tomorrow! 
You can make your own Halloween or any holiday cut-out cookies with fondant by following my directions on last year’s Halloween post. I know not everyone likes the taste of fondant, but it sure does make some cute cookies! I’m sure you’ll agree!

Wishing you a Happy Halloween (one day early) wherever you may be!
Look at this cool Jack-o-lantern hubby carved for our balcony in Warsaw!
P.S. My next baking class with CookUp Studio will feature some lovely fall desserts such as Sweet Potato Pie and Spiced Pumpkin-Cheesecake Bread. It will be held on Tuesday, November 5, at 6 p.m. You can sign up online here.

Joy’s Chocolate Shortbread
Yields: about 2-3 dozen cut-out cookies, depending on the shape used
170      g.                     butter, room temperature
200      g.                     granulated sugar
1          teaspoon          vanilla
¼         teaspoon          salt
90        g.         (12 Tablespoons) cocoa powder
170      g.         480 typ Szymanowska Polish flour
As needed       powdered sugar, for rolling out the dough
Garnish:           white royal icing

Using a paddle in the mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the vanilla.

Sift together the flour, cocoa and salt. Add to the butter/sugar and mix until dough comes together slightly.

Divide the dough into two flat packets and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Then, lightly dust your baking mat with powdered sugar, roll out the dough to about 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick. Then, cut out your cookies. You can reroll the scraps and cut into additional cookies.

Once the cookies are cooled, you can decorate with Royal Icing or fondant.

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Anonymous said...

I love the little meringue ghosts! A question though; Have you made meringue where the humidity has been very high? Where I currently live it really humid even if it has started to go down now that "winter" is on the way. I have the feeling that the poor things would just become little puddles if I tried to make some here, have you got any tips on baking with meringue in a humid climate?

Joy said...

@AK, basically, I would would advise not making any kind of meringue products when it's humid outside! :-) But, here's a couple of ideas to try: make an Italian meringue (where you cook the sugar syrup to 121C and then slowly add it into your whipping egg whites)as it will be more stable than a French or Swiss meringue; can you use your AC to de-humidify your apartment/kitchen?; and try on a day when it feels perhaps less damp than usual!

I know those tips will be hard to try in Taiwan, but hopefully it will work! Good Luck!

TravellingAK said...

Thanks for the tips! Will try in the early spring or middle of the winter when the humidity is lower than in the summer. Most places don't have AC in the kitchen, if there is one it's often just in the bedroom, and I am not sure if making food is really what a bedroom is for... There are some meringue products to be found so it must be doable even if difficult. On the other hand most kitchens don't even have an oven of their own so most of it comes from professional bakeries and they of course have different equipment...

Joy said...

@AK, good luck then! If you do try the recipe, please let me know how it goes. :-)