Monday, October 10, 2016

Just What the (Witch) Doctor Ordered.

My family's zest for Halloween can probably be traced back to the 1993 classic, Hocus Pocus. I'm sure this is the same for just about any kid that had the privilege of growing up in that era. Although we were supposed to fear them, the Sanderson sisters were actually pretty bitchin. They had amazing clothes, wicked brooms (or vacuums in some cases), and the hair...well, the whole reason none of them wore hats was because of the works of art occurring on their heads. Namely, Bette Midler's coif. I'm fairly certain her hair actually has a supporting credit role on It was just that iconic of a 'do. So I don't blame them for not wearing hats. You don't spend six hundred years perfecting a style so bold only to cover it up. But for standard witches, the images conjured up consist of green skin, noses that make Barbara Streisand's quiver in fear, and, of course, the pointy hats. A witch may only be as evil as her hat is pointy, so they need to make them count. I was having a wicked time (see what I did there) coming up with a few desserts to begin the celebration of Halloween in our house. For some of you, it's only a night...for me, it is a month-long endeavor culminating in over-the-top costumes, enough candy to murder a horse, and decorations so creepy no one will come to your front door. Really, minus hiding from children in a dark house, it's perfect. I have never made anything witchy themed, so I decided this was the year. I didn't want to bring out the big guns yet (a.k.a., cake), so I settled on yet another handheld dessert. It is the season of handhelds here on the blog, apparently.
But so delightfully evil and appropriate.
While they look sinful(ly delicious), these little chocolate witch hat cookies only knock you back about 60 calories per cookie. What sorcery is this? Well, it's all about the ingredients. Simplicity is key here, but we'll get to that in a moment. These are a lot of fun to make. Start to finish it took me just a hair over two hours. If you get the whole family on board, you can churn these out in half the time. Just watch out for thieves that eat raw cookie dough. They're the real menace. Burn them at the stake. A little too far? No one gets between me and a completed dessert. Not only are they a fun addition to any Halloween party, gathering, festival, or in my case, just for the Hall-o-it, they're devilishly good. Any cookie with a base of Devil's Food cake is going to turn out just fine in my book.
Bonus: tons of leftover Kisses!
Seriously, the recipe here is ridiculously simple. I could tar and feather myself for not realizing how unbelievably easy it is to make cookies out of cake mix. The possibilities are endless!! But for these witch hats, gather up:
  • 1/2 a box of Devil's Food cake mix
  • 1/4 cup of margarine, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg at room temp
  • 3 tablespoons of vanilla or white-colored frosting (out of the can is actually okay for once)
  • 21 Hershey kisses
  • Gel dyes in purple, lime, and orange or whatever spooky colors you prefer
  • Small glittery sprinkles in purple, green, and black or whatever spooky colors you prefer
  • For the hat buckle I used skeleton sprinkles found in the seasonal aisle at Smith's/Kroger
This recipe makes 21 cookies.You can easily double the recipe to make 42 cookies if you're actually trying to lure children to your home to suck out their souls and retain everlasting youthful beauty, and I mean, who isn't these days.

Start by preheating your oven to 350 and lining a baking sheet with Parchment paper. Dump the egg, melted and cooled margarine, and half the box of cake mix into a medium bowl and blend well. Let your cake/cookie mix rest for 10-15 minutes in the bowl. Otherwise, it will be way too sticky to handle right away. Use a half tablespoon scoop (these suckers expand in the oven big time), and scoop out 7 balls of dough.
I still would recommend dousing your hands in Pam.
 Take a bowl and dump one color of glitter sprinkles into it. Roll each of the seven balls into the one color and set on a baking sheet.
Place far apart so they have room to expand. Evil takes up a lot of space.
Once set wide apart on your baking sheet, pop into the oven for 7-8 minutes. Take these 7-8 minutes to unwrap all of the Hershey Kisses to save you time later. I may be evil, but I am efficient.
So perfectly round.
I was honestly a little worried these would be a goopy mess, but thankfully I was wrong. This is one of the only cases of me being wrong on record that I do not really mind. Carefully remove the tray from the oven and add in one Kiss to the center of each cookie. Place back into the oven for 4 minutes. While these four minutes are taking forever, shape another 7 cookie dough balls and roll into your second glitter sprinkle color choice.
Are my hands still stained black from sprinkles? Yes, but I like the decaying corpse look.
Once finished cooking, carefully remove each cookie to a sheet of Parchment paper. Now add the other 7 rolled cookie dough balls back on to your baking sheet and pop into the oven for 7-8 minutes. The second you do that, take your finished cookies and roll the tops of each Kiss carefully into the bowl of glitter again. You could opt for a different color here, but I like the monochrome look. I found the easiest way to top the Kisses in glitter sprinkles was to place them one by one into the bowl and sprinkle glitter on top of the cookie and press it gently into the Kiss to get it to stick. They're pretty malleable, so no worries if you misshape. Just fix it back in place. By now, you should be ready to roll your final 7 dough balls into the final color of sprinkles.
The purple was my favorite. Vikings, baby. Don't even get me started.
While your final batch bakes, be sure to quickly roll the tops of the second batch in the second color of sprinkles. You want the Kisses to still be a little melty so things will stick. Be sure to dunk your final batch in sprinkles when done baking.
These three colors together make me giddy with spooky delight.
While your cookies are all done and working on cooling, whip up your frosting colors. I went with neons that would really pop and match my skull decorations. I took 1 tablespoon of frosting, plopped it in a bowl, dyed it one color, and loaded it up into a piping bag with a small round tip (#3). I repeated for my other two colors. I do suppose a plastic bag with the corner barely snipped would work almost as well in this case if you're without piping tips.
I think Winnifred might actually like these hats.
Once COMPLETELY cool, simply hold a cookie in your hand and trace a circular border in your preferred color around the Hershey Kiss. Make a small mound of frosting where you complete your circle. This will work as the glue for your skull buckle. Gently place him, or her, who knows, I'm no anthropologist, into the frosting mound. Repeat with the other cookies/colors and finish up!
Congratulate yourself on not eating any of the raw cookie dough by downing about three of these at once. That's normal, right?
 Told ya, easy as pie and just as tasty. Now that I know how to use cake mix to make cookies, I plan on going full mad scientist here in a few weeks when we move. Again. Because this is what happens in the military. Our time in Albuquerque may unfortunately be coming to an end soon, but I still have one crazy Halloween cake up my sleeve before we go, so be on the lookout for that. Until then, I will continue to bide my time by staring longingly at the Sandia mountains out my window and soaking in every ounce of cool weather (along with my inner monologue: "Oh look, another glorious morning. It makes me sick!"). Because when November comes, we'll be sweating it up in Florida. I'm going to have to continue to watch Hocus Pocus nightly just to remind myself I am not crazy, and fall really is a thing that exists, just not in the south. I also have to remind myself I'm not crazy because Thackery Binx is also McGee from NCIS, and this makes no sense to me. The moment I realized that about ten years ago was a very confusing time for me. I think I need a cookie to soothe the pain. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
"I smell children..."

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