Vengeance is a dish best served with a big glass of milk

Just like the Great Pumpkin and a wealth of children wandering the streets in super hero pajamas, All Hallows Eve brings on something special in my kitchen — the annual baked blood bath…


SWEET VENGEANCE

I see dead people…Well, they are dead to me that is.  Ex-bosses who treated me like crap, sexist coworkers, catty friends, jerks who dumped me, the person who coined the phrase ‘down-sizing’: dead dead dead, dead dead. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a very nice person…really. And I truly believe that taking the high road after disappointment or heartache always makes me feel better in the end. Of course, that doesn’t prevent me from occasionally letting my imagination go a little wild and envisioning those who have done me wrong meeting gruesome fates. Problem is, I also believe in karma and what you send out to others you get back yourself. Unfortunately that means the nasty stuff too.

So what’s a very nice and occasionally vengeful gal to do? I suppose I could wish something not so terrible on them, like a nasty rash or a big zit on the end of their nose the day they are getting an important photo taken. Maybe a sudden downpour on their picnic? A really bad paper cut?  Yeah, none of that is even close to as satisfying as casting them as a victim of Jason, Freddie Krueger or Michael Myers.  But I wonder…. Maybe if I just pretend they get hacked to bits, the circle of karma won’t bite me in the ass. With Halloween coming up, it’s the perfect time to send out some good-natured grisly retribution. Yet rather than let some fictional character do the maiming, I prefer a more personal approach. Specifically, I like severing body parts.

Yes, every year for a while now, this seemingly normal woman turns into a deranged psychopath in the days leading to Halloween. Actually, I’ve been lopping off appendages, severing heads, and poking eyes out for almost two decades. Even more diabolical is I never have to worry about hiding proof of my annual blood lust. My friends and family are happy to take care of the evidence, especially my niece. She, in fact, is the is the reason I gleefully hack off appendages and put out eyes every year.

My niece was born on Halloween, and ever since her 1st birthday party I have been baking her severed body-part cookies as an annual birthday treat. There’s nothing cuter than a one-year-old baby girl in her first Halloween ballerina costume, chewing on the sugary bloody stump of a hand. And even though she’s practically all grown up now, she’s never tired of this annual birthday carnage, nor have I. It’s cathartic, really. Vengeance served, purged and conscience shiny and clean, all in a yummy cookie. And if the karmic retribution of my annual bloodbath is I have to walk another mile or two to burn off the calories? Yeah, I can live with that…

I know there are you out there who need to get in touch with your inner Dexter. Make these cookies and I promise, revenge will never taste so sweet!

SEVERED BODY-PART COOKIES

Each recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies, depending upon which body part you sever. Calories: approximately 100-125 per cookie

** Gruesome shapes: Technically, they don’t make cookie cutters in the shape of spleens, livers, kidneys, but they do make hands. These work very well provided you lop off a finger or two. Eyeballs are easily poked out using a small juice glass or biscuit cutter. I’ve also been known to sever gingerbread men heads and limbs. As for spleens, I use a holly or leaf-shaped cutter. Does it look like a spleen?  Do YOU know what a spleen looks like? Yeah, neither does anyone else, so just tell them it’s a spleen. As far as other shapes, feel free to get in-touch with the little ax-murderer inside you and make them up as you go!

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 TBSP cream or whole milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Thoroughly cream the butter. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg, then milk. In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients, then add them to the butter mixture and mix until the dough comes together. Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together in a ball, then pat out into a disk. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.  Roll out the dough to about ¼” thick, and cut out in gruesome shapes.**  Bake for 10-12 minutes on parchment lined cookie sheets. Cool completely on rack before “bloodying” with icing.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • ¼ tsp instant espresso powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp salt

Add espresso powder to the chocolate, and melt over a double boiler, or in the microwave (use 30 second intervals so you don’t scorch the chocolate). Set aside to cool a bit. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the egg, then the extracts and chocolate. Whisk the flour and salt together in a separate bowl then add to the wet ingredients and mix until the dough just comes together. Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together in a ball, then pat out into a disk. Don’t chill (it will make the dough too crumbly). Roll out the dough to about ¼” thick, and cut out in gruesome shapes.**  Collect the scraps and re-roll, but try not to add too much extra flour. These are a bit crumbly and delicate to begin with and too much bench flour makes them more so. Bake for 10 minutes on parchment lined cookie sheets. Watch these carefully – burnt chocolate tastes frightful! Cool completely before “bloodying” with icing.

Royal icing

(If you are uncomfortable using raw egg white, there are several recipes for royal icing on-line that use meringue powder.)

  • 1 large egg white (you may need to add a few drops of water if the icing is too stiff)
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp lemon juice, vanilla or almond extract

Beat the egg white and cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually add 1 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar until the mixture begins to stiffen and turn opaque white. Add 1 tsp lemon juice or extract and mix in thoroughly. The mixture should be stiff but still pliable.

Separate the icing into 3 bowls. Add red food coloring to one bowl to get a deep bloody red (add more sugar if the mixture thins too much.) Add blue or green to another bowl (for the center of the eyeballs). The plain white icing will be used to create the white of the eyes.

Put the blood icing in a small plastic bag with the tip cut off (you want just a very small hole) or pastry bag with a small piping tip. Do the same in a second bag for the eye color.

Once the cookies are cooled completely, bloody them appropriately along the hacked off edges. Leave them to dry overnight. They keep well in an air tight container for about a week. Make sure you put something heavy on top of the lid…you wouldn’t want them to crawl out….MUAAAAHAAAHAAAHAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

If you like what you read here, please help me spread the word. Meantime, I’d love you to join me on Facebook (please click the ‘like’ button), and check out what else is going on in my kitchen at cookinginmyheels.com. Thanks! 

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