Jack Skellington's Sandy Claws Cookies

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Being the patron saint of Christmas is no small order. Just ask a certain Pumpkin King (aka Sandy Claws) who once tried the jolly old elf's hat on for size. While Jack is now apt to leave official holiday business to the real Santa, he's still game to take part in a cookie swap or two.


You'll need:

  • Batch of sugar cookie dough *
  • Red food coloring
  • Disposable food preparation gloves (for kneading food coloring into the dough)
  • Flour
  • Wax paper
  • Rolling pin
  • Round cookie cutter (2.25-inch or so in diameter)
  • Kitchen knife
  • Spatula
  • Baking sheet
  • Wire cooling rack
  • White cookie icing (the type that hardens when it sets)
  • Flaked coconut
  • Round white candies (such as Mentos)
  • Black edible food marker

* Note: Homemade sugar cookie recipes tend to work best for these cookies. If you don't already have a favorite, try a Classic Sugar Cookie Dough recipe that's especially tasty and reliable.

   If you choose one of the ready-made refrigerated doughs sold at grocery stores, keep in mind that they tend to spread. You may want to knead in additional flour to stiffen it and then bake a single cookie to see how the dough holds up. If it still loses shape, try kneading in a bit more flour and then chilling the cookies before you bake them.


Instructions:

1. Divide the cookie dough into two equal portions. Knead red food coloring into one portion and leave the other one plain.

2. Working on a flour-dusted sheet of wax paper, roll out the plain dough 1/4 inch thick. Use the round cookie cutter to cut out a bunch of Jack Skellington face shapes.

3. Now roll out the red dough as you did the plain. Using a kitchen knife, cut out a red triangular hat shape (about 4 inches tall and 2 inches across the base) for each face. Use the cookie cutter to cut a curved notch in the base of each hat, as shown.

4. Top each of the faces with a hat, draping the curved edge of the triangle over the top edge of the circle. Use your fingertips to gently press down on the overlapped dough layers (just enough to make them stick together). Then carefully fold over the top of the hat, as shown.

5. Use a spatula to transfer the assembled cookies to a baking sheet, and bake them according to the recipe directions. Allow the baked cookies to cool briefly on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Spread white cookie icing on the face portion of each cookie. Then set the cookies aside for a few hours to let the icing harden.

7. Use the edible marker to draw Jack Skellington facial features on the hardened icing. For the best results, position the mouth close to the lower edge of the cookie and leave a little space above the eyes to trim the hat.

8. Now give each hat a "fleecy" brim by applying a line of cookie icing along the edge and pressing coconut flakes into the frosting. Lastly, stick a round white candy pompom to the tip of each hat. Once the trim icing hardens, the cookies are ready to serve.

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