Recipe: Spiderweb sugar cookies
The simple technique of dragging a toothpick through chocolate on a white-frosted surface is fast and easy, but it results in a deliciously professional design that delights kids when they realize that they can do it themselves.
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 (6-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
- 1 recipe royal icing
1 Beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add the egg and beat until fluffy. Blend in the vanilla. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt, mixing just until combined. Divide the dough in half, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and chill for 60 minutes.
2 Preheat the oven to 350˚F and grease 2 baking sheets.
3 On a floured surface, roll out one of the dough halves to a thickness of about 1/3 inch. Cut into circles using a 3-inch round cookie cutter or the top of a drinking glass. Gather and reroll the scraps. Repeat with the remaining dough half.
4 Carefully lift the cookies with a spatula and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 8 minutes, until light golden. Do not overbake.
5 Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, and melt the chocolate in the microwave: Heat on high for 60 seconds, and then stir well. If it’s not quite smooth, continue to heat in two or three 10-second bursts, stirring well after each burst. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate, stirring frequently, in a double-boiler, over just-simmering water. Avoid overheating, which can cause chocolate to seize up into a stiff mass.)
6 Spoon the melted chocolate into a ziplock bag. Seal the bag, pressing out any air. Use a toothpick and make a tiny hole in one corner of the bag to release a very thin stream of chocolate for writing.
7 To make the spiderwebs, spread white royal icing smoothly over the surface of each cookie. Immediately, before the icing can set, pipe a spiral of chocolate over the surface, starting in the middle and working outward. Starting in the center, use a toothpick to pull outward and inward, alternately, through the icing, making a spiderweb design.
Makes: About 36 cookies
Whether you’re making a spiderweb on a cookie, cake, or cupcake, you first need to lay down a base of white or dark icing, then pipe out a spiral of a strongly contrasting color on top (such as white icing with a chocolate spiral). Using a toothpick or the tip of a skewer, start at the center of the spiral and pull gently all the way to the edge. Wipe the tip of the toothpick on a paper towel, and then pull the toothpick from the outside to the center, alternating directions in and out all the way around the circle. (If this makes you nervous, you can also pull out from the center only, but your web won’t be quite as complex.)
Royal icing is extremely versatile; you can divide the amount in this recipe into small cups and tint each portion any color you like to make a decorating buffet for your kids (and yourself).
- 1 egg white
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 Whip the egg white and lemon juice in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until frothy. With the mixer on medium, beat in confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, until the mixture thickens slightly. Turn the mixer to high and continue to beat until the mixture is thick and glossy, about three minutes.
2 Cover the surface with plastic wrap until you’re ready to use it. Royal icing will set to a firm, glossy finish when applied to a cookie. The icing can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Excerpted from Ghoulish Goodies: Creature Feature Cupcakes, Monster Eyeballs, Bat Wings, Funny Bones, Witches' Knuckles and Much More. Copyright © 2009 by Sharon Bowers, Photography by ©Kevin Kennefick
Used by permission of Storey Publishing LLC. All Rights Reserved.