Halloween charcoal cookies

There may not be much of a Halloween celebration this year, and I nearly didn’t find pumpkins to carve as our corner grocer and prime purveyor sold out two days ago (to quote her: ‘I don’t know, I think people must just be so bored’), but I did manage to make these black cookies, naturally coloured with activated charcoal powder, and that makes me happy.

Charcoal crackers are quite common here in Britain, often to be paired with cheese, which gave me the idea for the colouring. I adapted a recipe from our home cookie bible, Alice Medrich‘s Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy — while I’m not much of a cookie baker, the children use it all the time. The vanilla cream cheese sandwich version of the sugar cookies proved to be the perfect recipe, to which I simply added a hefty dose of charcoal powder to achieve the deepest black.

Charcoal cookies after a sugar cookie recipe from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich

380g (3 cups) flour
2 tsps cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
225g (1 stick) butter, softened
300g (1 1/2 cups) sugar
2 Tbsps milk
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsps activated charcoal powder

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt, and mix thoroughly.

In a large bowl, beat the softened butter with the sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the milk, vanilla, and charcoal powder. Add the flour mixture and stir to thoroughly combine.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces, and roll each onto parchment paper into thin sheets approximately 1/3 cm (1/8 inch) thick. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Make a stencil for a bat (or rat, or cat, or any other shape).

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).

Cut out the dough along the stencil shapes, using up the leftover bits and pieces as you go by kneading them together just enough to form a smooth dough and rolling it out again.

Transfer the shapes to a baking sheet lightly dusted with sugar and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

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2 Responses to “Halloween charcoal cookies”

  1. This is Halloween … Aren’t you scared? | Nettle and Quince Says:

    […] love these naturally dyed cookies of the deepest charcoal black. They could be made into any shape of course: bats, cats, rats, hats, […]

  2. karen Says:


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