Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Sugar Cookies

I always liked Rizzo better.  “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” was so much more heart-wrenching than “Hopelessly Devoted” and, let’s be honest, not everyone could make a short, punkish, curly hairdo coordinate perfectly with a satin pink jacket.

Robbie and I made it through this week's Hurricane Sandy just fine although I can’t say the same for others in the area.  We were very lucky in our neighborhood and just had a lot of debris, wind and rain.  There were a few crashes and car alarms throughout the worst of it but I will take that over loss of power or worse circumstances any day.

I spent all weekend following the weather and trying to figure out how much I needed to prepare.  I ended up filling the bathtub with water. (To refill the toilet, not to drink, as most locals thought.  Bless their hearts.) I started saving my Big Gulp cups and filled those with water to drink.  We bought some non-perishables, stocked up on toilet paper and then waited for the storm.  I didn’t buy extra batteries and I didn’t tape any windows and I went with the assumption that I could use Newt as a flotation device.  We made it through Irene without any drama so I figured this would be the same.

But now, as I am approaching day three of working from home and have had a trip to North Carolina this weekend cancelled by US Airways, I am realizing how crazy it is out there.  Since yesterday morning, I have been watching 24-hour news and am stunned by the damage.  But as one news anchor alluded, this is New York.  A city of 8 million people who put up with grittiness on a daily basis and no matter what you throw at it, its inhabitants seem to build each other up.  We won’t make eye contact on the subway but if someone needs help, there will be a donation made to city relief, a warm shower provided or some bright sweets to welcome neighbors home the day before Halloween.

Halloween Sugar Cookies
Adapted from My Recipes 

1 stick of butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1/2-1 teaspoon lemon juice
Yellow gel food coloring
Red gel good coloring

Slice butter into several slices once softened.  Beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy – about two minutes.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and lemon zest.  Gradually mix the flour, salt and lemon zest mixture into the butter mixture until well combined.  Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl and continue to mix. 

Divide the mixture into thirds.  Place 1/3 of the dough into the bottom of a 9x5 inch loaf pan and press with your fingers until evenly spread across the bottom.  For the remaining 2/3s, mix yellow gel food coloring until the dough is a bright yellow.  Take half of that and place in the loaf pan, patting down on top of the white dough.  For the final 1/3 that is now bright yellow, add red food coloring until it is a bright orange.  Pat that into the loaf pan on top of the other two colors.  Refrigerate for two hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahreinheit.  Turn dough out onto a work surface and slice off about ¾’s of an inch like you are slicing a piece of bread.  Cut the slice into triangles.  Repeat with the remaining dough and place on a parchment or foil-lined cookie sheet.  Bake 7-8 minutes until slightly hard.  They will continue to cook once taken out of the oven.  Cool on a wire rack.     

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