Sunday, October 21, 2012

Melting Witch Cookies

"I'm melting, melting. Oh what a world. What a world."
      - The wicked witch of the of the west (AKA Elfaba)
Gail stumbled upon this good idea from Purple Chocolate Home for a cookie that looked like a melting wicked witch. We thought we'd give it a try, and we were very happy with the result. The cookie is a regular sugar cookie with a simple powdered sugar icing. The head is made out of gum paste, but might have been easier with marzipan  but neither of us really like marzipan.

I've included a recipe for sugar cookies and powdered sugar icing at the end, but you can you any cookie and icing you prefer. The original recipe called for rolling and cutting the cookie. We thought it worked just as well to press an uneven shape with our fingers.

Here are the steps for making the witch heads:

Make three colors of gum paste. I used Wilton gum paste in a bag and mixed in Wilton icing colors. These icing colors are very concentrated, and don't dilute the gum paste. I made the black and green using the black and green coloring. To get the purple, I used a combination of red and blue.

Roll balls out of the green gum paste to form the head. To make the nose, pinch a bit out of the ball and form it into a nose.

Add the mouth and eyes with small pieces of black. I poked a small hole with a wooden skewer and then pushed the black paste into the hole. I needed to do this because the paste dries quickly. The fresh hole makes a fresh sticky spot to connect the eyes and mouth.

Next, make the hair by making a flat shape approximately like a half circle. This will become the witch's hair. Mold the hair around the back of the head with the flat edge as the hairline. The big area seemed to stick just fine.

Finally make the hat in two parts. First, make a small cone. Then make a disk for the brim. Push the cone into the disk and immediately push the hat onto the witch's head. Again, the bigger area seemed to stick just fine.

Frost the cookies with black icing after they are cool and immediately place the head on the cookie. Piping two green hands finishes the look.

Sugar Cookies
Makes: about 2 doz, depending on size of cutters

Hands-on prep time: 30 min
Start-to-finish time: 3 ½ hr

6 T butter
1 3/8 c flour
½ t baking powder
½ t salt
½ c sugar
1 egg
½ t vanilla
Sugar for dusting cookie tops
  1. Soften butter. In another bowl, combine flour, powder and salt; set aside.
  2. Beat softened butter and sugar until creamy; beat in egg and vanilla. Mix in food coloring, if using.
  3. Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture, blending thoroughly to form a soft dough.
  4. Cover and refrigerate until firm, 3 hr-3 days.
  5. When dough is chilled firm, preheat oven to 375 F; roll, a portion at a time, onto floured board to thickness of 1/8”. Keep remaining portions refrigerated.
  6. Cut dough with cookie cutters; place slightly apart on ungreased baking sheet.
  7. Sprinkle generously with sugar if not planning to decorate after baking. Bake 8-10 min, until edges lightly browned.
  8. Cool 2 min on baking sheet; transfer to racks; cool completely before handling. Decorate; store airtight.

Simple Cookie Icing
1 c powdered sugar
4 t half and half
  1. Mix 3 t of the half and half into the powered sugar in a mixer.
  2. Add the rest of the half and half (or more by the teaspoon) if needed for spreading consistency.

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