Sunday, October 19, 2008

Candy Corn Cookies

I tried a recipe today for bite-sized candy corn shortbread cookies. They were really fun and easy to do, and they turned out perfect! Last year a mom brought these to my daughter's classroom Halloween party. I thought they were so cute and so yummy. She was kind enough to share the recipe with me. I found it online, too, but I'll type it out here so I can share my tips. I think I will share this batch with my nephews and my neighbors, and make another batch next week for my daughter's classroom Halloween party.


Sparkling Candy Corn Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 T orange juice
2 tsp freshly grated orange peel
1/8 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

red and yellow liquid food coloring (OR orange paste or gel food color , and yellow paste or gel food color)

1/2 cup sugar (optional)

Line bottom and sides of a 9x5 inch loaf pan with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Set aside.

Combine butter and 1 cup sugar in large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add egg, orange juice, orange peel and salt. Continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour and baking soda. Beat until well mixed.

Divide dough into thirds. Press one third of white dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Place another one-third dough back into mixing bowl. Add yellow food color, one drop at a time, mixing until the color is well-blended. Add a drop at a time until you have a shade pleasing to you. Remove the yellow dough from the mixing bowl and set aside. Place remaining one-third of dough into the mixing bowl. Add red and yellow food color, one drop at a time, alternating colors, mixing until well-blended. Alternate red and yellow until you achieve an orange color in a shade pleasing to you.

Press the orange dough evenly into the loaf pan on top of the white dough. Press the yellow dough evenly on top of the orange. Cover with wax paper or plastic food wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 375 F. Invert loaf pan onto a cutting surface to remove the dough. Peel off the waxed paper. With a sharp knife, cut the loaf crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide slices (as if you were cutting slices of bread). Trim edges if necessary. Cut each slice into wedges (see photos below). Place wedges 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes or until the edges are firm and the bottoms are very lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for one minute, then remove to a cooling rack. (The original recipe states to cool for one minute on cookie sheet, then roll each cookie in a bowl filled with 1/2 cup sugar, then move to a cooling rack, but I found the extra sugar to be an unnecessary step).

Cool completely. Store in loosely covered container. The cookies can be made ahead and stored in a freezer for up to one month. Recipe yields about 15 dozen bite-sized cookies.

Notes: I find my stand mixer indispensable for baking projects like this. The colors blended quickly and evenly, and the resulting dough was wonderful to work with.

The original recipe says to use paste or gel food color to get vibrant colors, but I used the liquid drops, which resulted in pretty, muted colors.

I refrigerated the layered dough overnight, and it was perfect to work with this morning. I had no issues with it crumbling or falling apart.

Here are photos of the process.

Dough layered in the loaf pan:

Dough ready to be cut.

Slicing the dough.
Cutting the wedges:

I did roll one baked cookie in sugar per the recipe's instructions, just to try it, but they are plenty sweet and tasty without the extra sugar. They don't sparkle without the extra sugar, though, so I should probably drop the word "sparkling" from the recipe title!

The orange gives them a nice citrusy flavor. Flavor-wise they remind me a lot of the scones my friend over at Jonski Blogski makes. Check out her recipe. I heart those scones, too!