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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

October 30: Mummy Sugar Cookies

You know how I volunteered to make cupcakes for my younger daughter’s class Halloween party? (I made these monster marshmallow toppers for them.) I also volunteered to make cookies for my older daughter’s class. 

I’d been planning to surprise my daughter with a batch zombie cookies using a gingerbread cutout after seeing photos for them on Pinterest. (My older daughter loves gingerbread and insists on a batch every Christmas.) But when I signed up to make cookies, it occurred to me that I could do the same concept for the class. However, since gingerbread can be polarizing, I decided to change the base cookie and do a sugar cutout cookie instead. I also decided to shift my plan from zombies to mummies because they’d be quicker to decorate.

Typically, I’d make sugar cookies from scratch. For this project, however, because I have to decorate the cookies AND make cupcakes the same day AND put on those cake-toppers AND figure out how to box it all up, I decided to go with another Betty Crocker mix. Betty hasn’t let me down yet with her mixes. Also, I made the cookies the night before and decorated them today. 

Before I write out the directions, I’m going to share some of my own mishaps with you so you, hopefully, don’t run into the same issues.

I had a bit of a fiasco at the beginning of decorating. I melted my candy melts in my new Wilton Candy Melting Pot. It was convenient because I was also making cupcakes at the time, so I didn’t have to stir the melts every 30 seconds like I do when I microwave them. I stirred them every few minutes instead. 

Then I scooped my warm melts into my 1-quart-sized freezer-bag piping bag, but I cut too much of the tip off the bag. For the “bandages,” you want thinnish lines, and I knew as soon as I snipped the corner that I’d made the opening too big. I tried it anyway to see how it looked, and the bag felt stiff in my hands, and what came out was just a giant blob. Instead of wasting the blob, I decided to use it as the glue for the candy eyeballs. I’d originally planned to pipe on the bandages first and then go back and place the eyeballs, but when I saw the consistency of the melts coming out of the bags, I decided that might become an issue, so I just stuck them all on first. (Also, I had to discard that original piping bag, so I squeezed all the melty melt back into the melt machine and threw out the piping bag.) 
If you look closely at the clear section to the lower right,
you can see how wide an opening I have there. OY!
I thought maybe a larger gallon-sized bag would work better for the next go-around, and since the freezer bag had felt stiff, I decided to take a risk and use the regular thickness (non-freezer) bag. This time, I cut the tip off at just the right place for the thin line I’d been looking for, but after just a couple mummies, I noticed my bag had sprung a leak! Which is precisely why I typically only use the freezer bags (because the plastic is thicker.) So, once more, back into the melt machine went the melty melts that had been in the busted baggie, and into the trash went Bag 2. 
The non-freezer bags spring leaks and you have a mess!
Even the mummies are shocked I'd stray from freezer bags.
Finally, I used a gallon-sized freezer bag and cut the tip off at the appropriate spot, and made quick work of the candy drizzle “bandages.” Better late than never?

So tl;dr: USE A GALLON-SIZED FREEZER BAG for your piping bag, and be sure to only snip a tiny bit off the tip of the bag where the candy will come out.

And now, finally, I give you MUMMY COOKIES!

Mummy Cookies
Yield: about 48 cookies (3” gingerbread man size)

For cookies
2 bags Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix
6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 sticks butter, melted
2 eggs

For decoration
12 oz bag white candy melts (Note: I used 9.6oz to decorate 36 cookies)
1 tsp shortening or coconut oil
Wilton Candy Eyeballs (small or medium size)
(optional) clear, tan, or light gray decorating sugar


1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

2.     Stir 2 bags of cookie mix with flour. Add melted butter and eggs and stir well to combine.

3.     Work with about a quarter of the dough at a time. Lightly flour your counter, rolling pin, and hands, then roll out dough to about a ¼” thickness. (For my first batch, I used the dough right away. It was easy to roll out and the cookie cutter seemed to be working quite well. However, attempting to remove the cookies from the actual counter to place onto the pans was a fiasco. Of the 12 I cut out, I was only able to successfully move 2 to the pan in a single piece. This trouble prompted me to take the other half of my dough and roll it on a Silpat sheet. I then placed the rolled-out dough into the refrigerator to chill while I worked with the first batch. The chilled dough was MUCH easier to work with and work with the cutouts. I suggest that if you have time, roll out then chill your dough for about a half hour.

1/4" thickness. You can see the dough is very shiny-
it's because of the melted butter.
4.     Use a cookie cutter to cut out gingerbread man shape (we’ll make them into mummies during the decorating stage). Place cutouts 2” apart onto Silpat-lined baking sheet. (The bag said to place them an inch apart but some of mine puffed up and baked together, so I recommend leaving additional space.

      Note: If they aren’t 100% beautiful, that’s okay. First off, they’re mummies, so they wouldn’t look perfect anyway. Secondly, we’re going to cover them with melted candy melts, so it’s not a big deal—the imperfections will likely be hidden.
This is a photo of the batch that wouldn't come off the counter.
Only 2 of these guys made it onto the tray. I had to re-roll and re-cut,
working with a smaller ball of dough and more flour.
But the experience inspired me to chill my remaining dough.
5.     Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the outside edges become light brown. (The bag said 5-7, but mine took about 9, and I rotated my pans in the middle.) 

6.     Allow to cool on the pans for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
7.     When ready to decorate, lay out cooled cookies on a large sheet of parchment or waxed paper. 
Ready to decorate
      Meanwhile, melt your candy melts with the shortening or coconut oil (I find it thins it out just enough to make it easier to work with) according to package directions.

8.  (Eyeball Placement Option 1) Working one at a time, spread a small dollop of candy melt on candy eyeballs and place in the eye spot of the cookie’s “face.” (Alternately, if you don’t want to position your eyeballs now, you can do it in Step 11.)

Again, don't worry if it's a bit messy. The "bandages" will
help hide the imperfection/make it less noticeable.
9. Scoop the melted candy melt into a freezer zipper bag, and snip off a small piece of the corner. (For further instruction, see photo directions in this post to see what I mean about making a piping bag from a freezer bag.) 

      You need to work fast as you complete Steps 8-9, because you don’t want your melts hardening in the piping bag. Now, it should stay warm enough for you to complete the entire job (in fact, it’s even a little hot so beware of burning your palm/fingers as I kind of did…) However, if you work particularly slowly, you may want to only use half of your melt at one time. That’s because if the melts begin to firm up in the bag, you can’t microwave the bag itself, but you can re-melt candy in a bowl and scoop it into a new bag.

10. Carefully squeeze candy melt in a horizontal back and forth motion across the body of the cookie man, moving down the entire length of the body. Repeated warning: the melts can feel hot to the touch when you’re holding and squeezing them out of the piping bag, so be careful. 

      To ensure my chocolate didn’t set before I was finished, I did about 7 cookies at a time before pausing to dust with sugar as per Step 11.
Zig zag back across the body.
The sparkles are the optional sugar listed in the next step.
11. While still wet, if you haven't already, place 2 eyeball candies where the eyes go. If you are using the decorating sugar, sprinkle it on now. 

Allow to fully set before storing or stacking cookies. 

I hope the kids enjoy these monstrous delights. I also hope my daughter can forgive her own Mummy for not making them actual gingerbread. 

**I have no affiliation or relationship with any of the brands mentioned or linked in this post. All opinions and experiences expressed herein are my own.**

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