Hello, dear neighbors! Making “fancy” cookies for Halloween doesn’t mean you have to own fancy equipment. All you need is a piece of stiff plastic, (or cardboard protected by wide scotch tape) to make the pattern yourself, some pie weights or dry chick peas, a toothpick, a peeling knife, and perhaps a cotton swab for the decoration. No egg in the dough of this recipe, as I find it easier to handle with chia seeds as a substitute. No gluten, and no almond meal either – I made these cookies with the hope that I will some day be baking them for my niece’s children who have a nut allergy. However, given the current circumstances (more on this after the recipe), this won’t happen just yet.
Ingredients for 12 ghost cookies:
For the cookie dough :
– 2 TBSP ground chia seeds
– 60g shortening of your choice (mine is a mix of 2 parts non hydrogenated margarine and 1 part ghee butter), at room temperature
– 60g pure cane sugar
– pinch salt
– the grated zest of half a lemon (optional)
– ¼ tsp baking soda with a little lemon juice OR ½ tsp baking powder
– 40g ground gluten-free oats
– 40g sorghum flour*
– 40g cassava flour *
* PLEASE NOTE that if you do not have any nut allergy, either flour can be replaced by the same amount (40g) of almond flour.
For some decorating fun:
– 15 ml egg white
– 60g homemade icing sugar (= sugar very simply run through my coffee grinder; at this time of year, in preparation for the upcoming festivities I always have some already made and stored in a glass jar)
– a little freshly pressed lemon juice
– a little baking chocolate
Making the cookies:
1. Add 4 TBSP water to 2 TBSP ground chia seeds and mix. The mixture will be quite thick and sticky.
2. In a mixing bowl (preferably one with a wide, flat base), mix together 60g shortening, 60g cane sugar, a pinch of salt and the grated zest of half a lemon with a fork. Add the chia-water mixture and keep mixing until well combined.
3. Add 40g ground oats, 40g sorghum flour and 40g cassava flour. Make the dough by mashing everything with a fork, then shaping into a ball by hand at the end.
4. Sprinkle a little flour on a flat surface as well as a plastic protection to prevent the dough from sticking as you roll it ½ cm / ¼ inch thick. Preheat the oven to 170°C / 340°F.
5. Cut out a piece of dough larger than your ghost template and place it on a baking tray lined with grease-proof paper. Proceed to cut out the dough carefully following the edge of the pattern. Remove any excess dough and peel off the template. Repeat another 5 times. You now have your first batch of 6 ghost cookies. Press pie weights (or dry chick peas) into the dough to mark the spots for the eyes and the mouth.
6. Bake between 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your oven. Prepare the next batch of cookies while the first is baking. They should be removed from the oven after the edges and the bottom have turned slightly brown. The cookies will harden as they cool down. Only then will it be safe to remove the pie weights – guess who burned her fingers, dear neighbors!
Making the icing and decorating:
1. Prepare a very simple icing by mixing 15 ml egg white (= 1 TBSP) with 60g icing sugar and a few drops of lemon juice.
2. Spread on each ghost with the back of a teaspoon, and a toothpick, dragging it horizontally over the surface, for the narrower spaces between the eyes and the mouth – a trick my daughter taught me last year! If by any chance too much icing goes inside the cavities, just clean up with a cotton swab dipped in water.
3. When the icing is done, all is left is to fill the eyes and the mouth with a little melted chocolate. Using a peeling knife such as the one in the photo will give a small trickle and prevent spilling!
This recipe was created at the beginning of this week as my moral was getting a little low: up until very recently, our area had been spared by the virus. Well, this is no longer the case: there are several infected people now in our village and the neighboring ones. The nurse who came to give my husband his flu shot told us it was mostly students who had returned home for the school break. I am not throwing stones at them, dear neighbors! I also know of someone my age, recently retired, who also tested positive. As you know, the situation is so bad we are now in lock-down for the second time this year. Anyway, on Tuesday I decided I couldn’t let it get to me, and I started baking, coming up with this ghost cookie recipe, with my faraway nephews in mind, and also you, dear neighbors: I may not have found the motivation if it hadn’t been for this blog!
Stay safe, wherever you are!