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Iced Gingerbread Jack-O-Lantern Cookies

Halloween recipes

Nothing says "Halloween" better than a jack-o-lantern! Here are some -- with candy windowed eyes and mouths -- that the kids can frost.

Jack-O-Lantern Cookies

Ingredients:
Jack-O-Lantern cookie cutter (with eyes cut out)
Prepared vanilla icing
Orange food tint (such as Wilton's)
Roll candy, crushed (such as Lifesavers)
Zip-closed bags for each color of candy
Rolling pin or mallet
Parchment paper
Wax paper

For Spooky Gingerbread:
1 cup shortening, melted in a medium bowl
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup molasses
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 egg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients with the exception of sugar. When the shortening in the medium bowl has cooled somewhat, add the molasses, water, brown sugar, vanilla and egg. Mix until smooth.

3. Slowly add small amounts of the dry mixture to the shortening mixture. If the dough becomes too stiff, mix with your hands. When the consistency is smooth, divide it in half and place each piece on plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

4. During this time, place roll candy in zip-closed bags, one bag for each color, and crush with a rolling pin.

5. After the chilling time has elapsed, preheat the oven to 350 F.

6. Remove 1 bundle of dough from the refrigerator and roll on a lightly floured surface. You may also use waxed paper if the dough sticks. Use jack-o-lantern cookie cutters. 

7. Generously sprinkle crushed candies in the eyes and mouth of the jack-o-lantern, removing any stray pieces that fall onto the dough. You may need to widen the jack-o-lantern eye holes or smile to allow room for candies.

8. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until the dough is soft, but not browned. The candies should be melted. Cool cookies on the pan on top of wire racks for 3 to 4 minutes to allow the candy to harden. Carefully remove from baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.

9. Tint frosting orange.

10. When cookies are cool, let the children apply their own orange frosting with Popsicle sticks or spoons. Use the edge of a paper towel to clean stray frosting from the window eyes.

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