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My children like nothing better than getting their hands dirty, so I thought I would give them a couple of opportunities to really get stuck in and get creative on a Halloween theme.
First on the agenda – Halloween shortbread.
We used a very straightforward shortbread recipe:
125g caster sugar
350g plain flour, plus extra flour for dusting
a pinch of salt
Cream the butter and the sugar together in a large bowl. I let the children take turns at doing this, before giving it a final go myself. Sieve the flour and a pinch of salt into the creamed mixture, and combine the ingredients to make a doughy mixture. Again, rubbing the flour into the fat and sugar is wonderfully messy and this is the part where we usually have arguments as to who has had the longest turn!!
When all of the ingredients have been completely rubbed in together, gently knead the doughy mixture for a few moments, and form it into a smooth ball. Wrap it in clingfilm, and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes. Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 4, 180 degrees C, 350 degrees F, and grease a couple of large baking sheets. When the biscuit mix is ready to come out of the fridge, sprinkle some flour onto your work surface, and your rolling pin, and gently roll out the mixture to about a 1cm thickness. We used Halloween cookie cutters bought this year and last year at Tesco, and took it in turns to cut shapes from the dough. Keep reforming the dough ball and rolling out until all the mixture has been used up. The biscuits need to go into the oven for 15 minutes, but check them at around 12 minutes because if your oven is on the hot side, they'll probably be done! They just need to be golden, and more on the golden side than the brown side (I write from experience on this one!!!) When the biscuits are cooked, take them out of the oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack for as long as they need to cool down. This is the part where you might want to have something else to occupy the children, as mine wanted to decorate the biscuits as soon as they were cooked, and they really do need time to cool otherwise the icing won't stick properly. I had my dear husband, a very large pumpkin, and a pumpkin carving kit at the ready, and while the biscuits were cooling, the girls helped their dad to prepare the pumpkin ready for him to carve - another extremely messy job!!
The girls had great fun scooping out the stringy bits and seeds, and it took just long enough for the biscuits to have time to cool. I bought a four-pack of writing icing, and let them do their own thing.
Here are the finished biscuits - we still have a few left to enjoy today!
And the results of the pumpkin carving? Using the Tesco pumpkin carving templates, a friendly ghost on one side, and a fiendish face on the other:
We also found time to make these orange chocolate lollies using this Supercook kit.
H*A*P*P*YH*A*L*L*O*W*E*E*N to all our readers! Don't get spOOked!
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