Artsy Fartsy / Countdown to Halloween / Holidazed

Frightening Fridays: Zombie Dance Sugar Cookies

Sing it with me, "'Cause this is COOOOOOKIEEEEEE, Cookie Night...."

Sing it with me, “‘Cause this is COOOOOOKIEEEEEE, Cookie Night….”

I love Halloween-themed food. Everyone loses their mind about pumpkin spice, but I’m all about the Monster cereals and Halloween-themed baking. Hand me a box of Trader Joe’s Joe-Joes with jack-o’lantern faces on them, and I’ll murder the box (while at the same time being sad that they’re all gone). Hand me a baking challenge wrapped in clever Halloween packaging, and I’ll try it. Last year, you’ll recall that I baked some delicious Gingerdead Men. That was an adventure! Would these zombie sugar cookies match that experience? Read on to find out!

A note about these kits: You can find them at many big box stores and stores like World Market. I bought mine at Target, but I’m pretty sure they’re all the same in terms of contents.

The tighty-whiteys on this zombie sold it for Mr. Geeky V.

The tighty-whiteys on this zombie sold it for Mr. Geeky V.

So let’s look at the contents.

Zombie cookie cutters! I wonder if I'll use them again?

Zombie cookie cutters! I wonder if I’ll use them again?

The cookie cutters are about what you’d expect from a $5 kit. They’re not the cheapest things in the world, but Williams-Sonoma caliber they aren’t. Still, though, having cookie cutters doing the “Thriller” dance is deeply satisfying to someone like me.

In this picture, it looks like this is a Miami Vice costume kit, complete with some Colombian nose candy. I assure you, this is cookie mix.

In this picture, it looks like this is a Miami Vice costume kit, complete with some Colombian nose candy. I assure you, this is cookie mix.

Included in the kit are cookie dough mix, frosting mix, green powder to color the dough, and red and black icing pens. This is one of those situations where you don’t read the label to find out what’s in this mix. I’m sure it’s not going to turn me into a zombie, but I’m also fairly certain it doesn’t meet my normal standards for food that is actually food. But Halloween isn’t a time to read labels. It’s a time to consume mass quantities of crappy Frankenfoods shaped like monsters and pumpkins, complete with artificial colors and flavors, with reckless abandon. Life is too short not to go on a sugar-fueled binge this time of year.

In case you buy this kit and throw away the box (like I almost did), here are the directions.

In case you buy this kit and throw away the box (like I almost did), here are the directions.

Normally, I’m not one to follow directions to the letter when it comes to baking, but this is one kit I did. I didn’t want to mess anything up, since I knew I was covering the experience for you, dear readers.

In goes the cookie mix! (Thriller Graveyard Gang toys sold separately)

In goes the cookie mix! (Thriller Graveyard Gang toys sold separately)

First, I added the cookie mix. Well, actually, first, I decided to photograph these steps with zombie helpers. I thought it might liven up an otherwise pedestrian post about making cookies.

Everything's better with cute zombie toys!

Everything’s better with cute zombie toys!

Next, I added my half-stick of room temperature butter and one egg.

Mixing!

Mixing!

Next, it was to the mixer with this stuff. I used my stand mixer, but I’m sure you can use a hand mixer for this. Definitely don’t try to do this by hand. It takes forever.

This looks like a giant slime cookie.

This looks like a giant slime cookie.

Once the dough was all solid, I made a well in the middle for what looked like the contents of 100 green Pixy Stix. I assure you, it is strictly a color powder. It does not taste like anything resembling Pixy Stix.

Still life with zombie and dough hook

Still life with zombie and dough hook

Now, this is where I thought I was so smart. The directions said to knead the color powder into the dough. I said, “Oh, I’ll use my dough hook for kneading!” Nope. It didn’t really work. I wound up doing it by hand, but honestly, it wasn’t hard at all. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to distribute the powder evenly by hand, but it was surprisingly easy.

This is Spice Zombie. He lives in my spice cabinet. He will forever smell like spices, and that's why I love him.

This is Spice Zombie. He lives in my spice cabinet. He will forever smell like spices, and that’s why I love him.

Once you’ve properly greened up your cookie dough, spread some flour on a flat surface. I used my countertop because it’s the easiest to clean. Plus, it’s marble, so it’s cold and won’t make the dough sticky. Oh, a note about that–if your dough is super sticky after kneading, pop it into the fridge for about 10 minutes. I have really hot hands, so I did this because I knew what a disaster it would be if I tried to roll out warm dough. (It’s super sticky.)

Push!

Push!

Once I pulled the dough out of the fridge, I was ready to roll it out. The zombies helped a little, but let’s be honest, they did just enough to make a cute photo. I had to do all the heavy lifting.

It looks like Slimer roadkill.

It looks like Slimer roadkill.

This is what it looks like rolled out. You’ll notice that at some point I got tired of the rolling pin sticking to the dough mid-roll, so I patted it out the rest of the way by hand. (It also looks like tiny zombies have trampled it.)

Zombie Mountain

Zombie Mountain

This is the part that always scares me. What happens if they all stick? What if I pull a leg off one trying to liberate it from the cookie cutter? They didn’t all stick, but I did detach a few limbs. I also stretched them out trying to transfer them from the cookie cutter to the pan. So the fat, squishy zombies you see here were very slender and tall. Also, can we talk about how the one with its head down reminds me of one of the Peanuts kids dancing? It’s the kid in the Christmas special who turns his head from side to side

Apparently I forgot to take a picture of the cookies pre-baking, so please enjoy this photo of zombies putting away dishes.

Apparently I forgot to take a picture of the cookies pre-baking, so please enjoy this photo of zombies putting away dishes.

I baked the cookies. While I did that, I took some pictures of zombies trying to do household tasks.

All done!

All done!

I pulled the cookies out of the oven, and thankfully they didn’t all grow together into one amorphous blob. I think had I not chilled the dough before rolling it out, it would have. (Warm dough tends to spread more when baking.)

Thriller dance or slap fight?

Thriller dance or slap fight?

This guy looks like he’s in a slap fight. He also looks like he has a flipper instead of an arm.

This one is perfect.

This one is perfect.

If I had to pick one specimen for what they should look like, this is it.

Oops!

Oops!

Looks like the one on the left punched his buddy and got his hand stuck inside.

Oof, not sure what that arm is doing.

Oof, not sure what that arm is doing.

The guy in the left is a good example of how stretchy they got as I transferred them to the cookie sheet. That arm makes him look like an extra from Yo, Gabba Gabba!

Waiting to cool

Waiting to cool

Here they are after I got them off the cookie sheet. You’ll notice that one has lost its head completely, and one broke into two pieces. At least one more has a head that’s barely attached, but you can’t tell here.

Mmmmm, frosting!

Mmmmm, frosting!

As they cooled, I made the frosting. (Or is it icing? I think it’s the same thing.) This is ridiculously easy with a mixer. And it’s fun to see it go from blob to nicely whipped and fluffy.

This is the easiest way to get the frosting in the bag.

This is the easiest way to get the frosting in the bag.

Next comes the messy part–adding the frosting to the bag.

IMG_4285Once it was all in there, it was hard to get it back down far enough to twist the top and add the twist tie.

Here are the finished  products.

Here are the finished products.

They were surprisingly easy to decorate. They don’t look exactly like the box, but they’re pretty good.

Because of course I did a Michael Jackson.

Because of course I did a Michael Jackson.

I'm not sure if he's earing a girdle or what, but he's wearing clear pants.

I’m not sure if he’s earing a girdle or what, but he’s wearing clear pants.

IMG_4289

I love the detached eyeball.

I love the detached eyeball.

BLAARGH

BLAARGH

Somehow we only managed to make one girl.

Somehow we only managed to make one girl.

Another clear pants guy

Another clear pants guy

Sometimes when the head comes off, you have to get creative.

Sometimes when the head comes off, you have to get creative.

Another BLARGH!

Another BLARGH!

So at this point you’re probably wondering how they tasted. They were pretty good. The sugar cookies didn’t have a lot of taste. At least not as much as I expected. I’m wondering if the green powder had anything to do with it. The white frosting was really good, and as usual, the red and black icing tasted kinda weird.

I’d definitely make these again, but I think I’ll use my own recipe and maybe leave out the color. At the very least I’d compensate for the taste loss caused by the color. It’s a really fun kit, especially for five bucks. I can see this one being fun with the kiddies or at a party where everyone decorates their own cookie after a few pumpkin beers.

So how about you, gentle readers? Do you dig Halloween cooking? What are you planning to make this spooky season?

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