It wasn’t until I was into my late 20s that I started appreciating the beauty of Halloween food crafts.
At 26, I carved my way into my first pumpkin. It was a pretty damn good Angry Birds pumpkin, I might add. (Okay, so maybe I used a tracer, but don’t tell anyone!)
At 27, I played with Halloween sprinkles for the first time.
Now, at 28, I’m finally decorating cookies!
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best dessert decorator. However, I wanted to come up with a fun cookie that kids will enjoy decorating for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a non-profit organization founded by two OXO employees, Gretchen and Larry Witt. Inspired by their son’s battle with cancer, Gretchen and Larry decided to help raise money for research on cancers that were child-specific. It started with a massive cookie sale in 2007 and blossomed into a national non-profit that has granted over $7 million dollars to cancer research! Throughout the month of October, OXO is donating $100 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for each blog post dedicated to this campaign. When OXO asked me to join the campaign, I said, “es, yes, yes!” To get me started on the cookie fun, OXO sent me with a great half-sheet baking pan (which bakes cookies VERY well), a medium cookie scoop, and a cookie spatula.
It’s been a cookie extravaganza over here. (Insert cookie emoji here.) I baked 5 batches of these cookies already, and I will still devour them in a heartbeat. To make these cookies extra special, I’ve added some black pepper and Chinese five-spice powder. The black pepper addition is something I picked up from Sabrina, when I tried her amazing butternut squash cake last week. Her idea of adding savory spices to desserts was genius, and I wanted to give these cookies a bit of savory, too.
We’re going start with the basic googly eyed cookie recipe here, but there is nothing stopping you from jazzing these babies up with sprinkles and MORE sugar. Let the cookie bonanza begin!
MASTER MY MISTAKES + COOKING NOTES
- USING CANE SUGAR: With one of my test batches for these cookies, I used 1/2 cup turbinado (or demerara) sugar and 1/4 cup light muscovado, and they looked more brown and had a deeper flavor. I preferred the taste of the turbinado/muscovado mix to the cane/turbinado sugar mix. However, I went with the cane/turbinado combination because the cookies baked more evenly. Some of the cookies that were baked with the turbinado/muscovado blend cratered in the center or the edges.
- SHAPING THE DOUGH: During that same batch of cookies mentioned above, I decided to flatten the cookies with a glass. I put a piece of parchment paper on top of a ball of dough and used the bottom of a drinking glass to flatten it. It was more work, and I thought that flattening the cookies out with my fingers was much better.
- USING VEGAN BUTTERY SPREAD: I tried batches using whipped vegan buttery spread and a stick of vegan butter, and I noticed that the cookies will expand more if you use the whipped spread.
- GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR BLENDS: I tried these cookies with Minimalist Baker’s gluten-free flour blend, and a store-bought blend. I preferred the texture of the cookies using Minimalist Baker’s blend. I also want to note that I usually add a teaspoon of xanthum gum to that blend for binding purposes.
- MAKE A CAKEY VERSION: On one of my experimental batches, I used a softened stick of butter and added an egg the batter. I ended up with very soft, cakey cookies. Not exactly the cookie texture I was going for, but it felt like I was eating tasty muffin tops.
KITCHEN TIP #1: HOW TO MAKE BUTTERNUT SQUASH PUREE
KITCHEN TIP #2: HOW TO PEEL & CUT BUTTERNUT SQUASH
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Here’s some more info about Cookies for Kids’ Cancer:
- Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer fund pediatric cancer research.
- OXO will be donating $100 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for each blog post dedicated to this campaign in October (up to our $100,000 commitment*.)
- *In 2015, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer through product proceeds, bake sale matches and other fundraising efforts
- For more information about Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, visit their website!