By Mary Jane Maffini aka Victoria Abbott
Welcome to Day One of Eat, Drink and Be Scary, our second annual Halloween eight-day week. We are very excited and are very glad you are joining us!
I will confess, I’m silly about Halloween. I love it. So is my daughter, Victoria. Even my hubby dutifully carves very scary and fun pumpkins every year.
There’s so much entertaining stuff to do. I stock up on candy in our old black Dutch over and put on the dog costumes (should we get new ones?)
I believe those are my cookies!
I slap on my witch hat and then … over the course of the night, eight to twelve kids show up. Some of those are neighborhood toddlers with dad or mum. Some scare the dogs and vice versa!
As we will probably know all the families of the kids who come to our door and many will be really young, we felt I could make some cookies as plan a and then have candy bars as plan b.
I thought I’d give spiders and eyeballs a miss as we have had tears in the past. Sometimes the little ones get scared by their own costumes. But I LOVE my ghost cookie cutter and thought that might be gentle fun.
Luckily I came upon this vintage sugar cookie recipe handwritten tucked into my mother’s recipe notebook. It’s not in my mother’s handwriting and they don’t taste like her sugar cookies (still searching for that recipe) and there’s no name, but despite their mysterious origins, they are addictive. Our friends have been snitching the practice ones. I’ve fiddled with the recipe and am very happy with the results. With the addition of the sad little chocolate chip mouth, we are happy with the plaintive look of the little “ghosties” and everyone loves the taste. In fact, I might just pinch one right now.
You will need:
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature, well beaten in a small bowl
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp good quality vanilla
Extra sugar for dusting
All you do is:
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy in stand mixer (or whatever works for you). Add beaten eggs and vanilla and continue to beat until well blended.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, soda, and cream of tartar, mixing to blend.
Add dry mixture to wet and mix just until blended. Don’t overbeat.
If you have time, roll the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill the dough for 20 minutes before rolling out. It is very soft.
Roll out on floured surface and roll with floured rolling pin until about ¼ inch think. They will puff up slightly, so don’t roll too thick.
Cut into shapes with your favorite cookie cutters. Of course, we used ghosts.
Transfer to cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. They spread quite a bit so keep it to six per sheet, or they will run into each other. I learned this the hard way and had to eat quite a few and then start again. Ahem. Dust each with a bit of granulated sugar.
For each ghost, place a chocolate chip (with the point into the dough) for the mouth of each Ghostie.
Bake 10 minutes. Remove and cool. Makes 24 Toasty Ghosties. Guard them well, because they have a ghostly tendency to disappear. Quite a few did while I was taking pictures. From the forty-eight we made, we find ourselves down to these. How mysterious is that?
That shadowy figure known as Victoria Abbott is actually artist and photographer, Victoria Maffini and her mother, Mary Jane, author of three other mystery series.
Although it's not a Halloween mystery, they promise very dark nights, a spooky house and some goosebumps in The Marsh Madness, the fourth book collector mystery, just weeks off the press.
Here's what some people are saying about The Marsh Madness:
I highly recommend The Marsh Madness to readers of all ages who appreciate excellent writing, exciting plots, and fun, small-town people. -- Open Book Society
The Marsh Madness is a mystery that will keep you guessing and entertained every step of the way.
-- Fresh Fiction
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