When I was growing up, the internet was just becoming mainstream. Only one person in my grade seven class had a cell phone and Facebook didn’t exist. Christmas cards still said Merry Christmas, you could run down the street to your neighbour’s house to see if the kids there could play, gluten-sensitivity was unheard of and anyone who couldn’t pay attention in class just needed more exercise.
I can’t imagine how different – and difficult – it must be to raise children today.
I can’t say I agree with how some communities are attempting to deal with these issues. I read the other day that some schools want to ban Halloween. I don’t want to get into my political views or feelings about parts of society these days in general, but it does make me sad that by the time I have kids, the institution of dressing up in a costume and going door-to-door for candy may not exist.
So in the meantime, even though I don’t have children of my own (and I’m a few years past being a child myself – although I tend to forget that), I’m going to continue to celebrate Halloween as it was meant to be celebrated: by eating obscene amounts of store-bought candy and chocolate, carving pumpkins, watching horror movies and baking Halloween-themed sugar cookies.
Bunny costume optional.
Halloween Sugar Cookies
Lightly adapted from The Vancouver Sun
one cup butter, at room temperature
one cup granulated sugar
two teaspoons vanilla
three and a half cups all-purpose flour
two teaspoons cream of tartar
half teaspoon baking soda
half teaspoon baking powder
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Stir in vanilla. Sift in dry ingredients. Mix well.
Divide dough into three roughly equal parts, wrap in saran wrap and press to flatten (they’ll be easier to roll out and will cool faster this way). Place in the fridge for at least four hours. You can also freeze the dough at this stage (just defrost in the fridge for a few hours before using).
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Roll out the dough (one package at a time; leave the others in the fridge to stay cold – they’ll be somewhat less sticky this way) on a well-floured surface. I like my cookies on the crispier side, so I roll mine to about a quarter of an inch thick, but you can adjust according to your preferences.
Use a cookie cutter to make your desired shapes, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet about half an inch to an inch apart (they will spread a little, but not much). Again, the baking time will depend on how crispy you want them, but mine took about ten to twelve minutes.
If you’re going to ice your cookies, let them cool completely first. I used this recipe for royal icing.