The cooler days of fall have finally arrived. Trees will soon be ablaze with fiery colors; the air is a bit cooler and has a crispness that you can almost taste. I’ve hung my autumn wreaths and placed my scarecrow and a trio of pumpkins on the front porch, beckoning the harvest season.
When my kids were little I started lots of traditions – many that drew us into the kitchen. At our house it’s time to make the usual Jack-O- Lantern cookies; large roundish cookies slathered with bright orange frosting and decorated faces with all kinds of personality. Making our traditional batch of cuties is not really on the minds of my now older children, but somehow it is all I can think about. My daughter will be home in a few days from college and we will all reconnect in the kitchen as we create our very own pumpkin patch.
Take some time to start a tradition with your kids and get them in the kitchen to mix, roll, cut, bake, stir and frost. Sure it will make a mess, but you are investing in the future with every step and my Jack-O-Lantern Cookies are pretty tasty too!
Cute Jack-O-Lantern Sugar Cookies
Sturdy Sugar Cookie Dough
4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl sift dry ingredients together. Cream butter and sugar together using an electric mixer, for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Add dry ingredients slowly until combined. Separate dough into 2 gallon zip locks. Flatten dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Turn dough out on to a floured surface and roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out pumpkin shapes and bake on greased cookie sheet for 13-15 minutes.
Butter Cream Frosting
1 ½ sticks butter at room temperature
6 cups of powdered sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
Milk or heavy cream
Orange, green and yellow food coloring
Assorted candies if desired
Using an electric mixer, combine butter, sugar, extracts and several teaspoons of milk on low speed, continue to add milk as needed to get the proper consistency for spreading. Whip on high speed for 5-7 minutes to create a fluffy frosting. Do not leave the mixer unattended. Put about ½ cup frosting into two separate bowls. Add yellow food coloring to one bowl and green to the other and mix well. Add orange food coloring to remaining frosting. Spread each cookie with orange coloring. Place yellow and green frosting into pastry bags fitted with plain or leaf style tips. Pipe faces, leaves and stems onto cookies.