Happy Howl-a-ween! And at this house, that is pretty accurate since the dogs are about to outnumber the humanoids.
In other news, like the title suggests, we have Chicas Gone Bonitas which as you might suspect is a gathering of the lady folk sans baggage (cute and lovely baggage like kids and squeezes). It’s a time to relax, breathe, share stories and bust out the laughter. This Halloween edition meant it was also time to decorate some frightfully good cookies. I brought out my cutout cookie A Team, also known as Mexican sugar cookies. These cookies have so much flavor, keep their shape and freeze well: the triple crown of cutout cookies, if you ask me. Warning: these cookies have anise seeds and many of you may not necessary like their flavor but it is so subtle and essential, I encourage you to leave them in, at least for the first batch. This recipe comes from a BH&G Christmas Cookies magazine which means I spend a lot of time searching through all my Christmas Cookie magazines every time I need it. NOT ANYMORE!
Mexican Sugar Cookies
1 c shortening
1 c granulated sugar
2 Tbs milk
3 c AP Flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp anise seeds, crushed
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (I like the Vietnamese version also called Saigon cinnamon)
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbs brandy (I use Calvados)
1) Beat shortening in mixer for 30 seconds. Gradually add the sugar and mix until fluffy. Beat in the egg and 2 Tbs milk. Mix to combine.
2) Stir together flour, baking powder, anise seeds, the cinnamon and the salt. Alternately add the flour mixture and the brandy to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Form into 2 discs and and chill for 1 to 2 hours or until easy to handle.
3) Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Spread a tea towel on the counter and dust with flour. Place dough on towel and sprinkle with more flour. Sprinkle your rolling pin with flour as well. Begin rolling out dough, adding small amounts of flour when needed (when things start sticking) but be careful and only add as much as you need. Roll out to about 1/8th inch thick. Use your awesome collection of cookie cutters to make whimsical, yet horrifying works of edible art.
*Note: you may have to flour the cookie cutters in order to easily release them, generally the ones that press an image onto the dough are the ones that need a little extra help.
4) Place cookies on the parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 10 to 16 minutes until edges are slightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Now you have beautiful and delicious cookies that are ready to decorate or eat.
**To store them place in a container and layer with wax paper. They should be good for a week at room temperature or good for months if frozen.
Gallery of Fright