Halloween in Review (Continued): Ghost Cookie Cups

19 Nov

Okay, so this is Day 2 of posting things I’ve been up to in the last month. Today’s project is very easy to pull off in an afternoon and made for a great classroom treat for my younger son, Oliver, and his preschool friends. Because he is just shy of a year old, Eyeball-on-a-Stick didn’t seem like a great idea for the kids in his room, so I devised a softer, more new-teeth-friendly party treat: Ghost Cookie Cups.

These are a pretty straightforward design, with lots of little built-in escape routes for saving time & energy. In all honesty, by the time I got around to making these, I’d already made a million candy eyeballs and a batch of cupcakes, and I still had to stitch together an entire costume for Ollie, who was dressing as the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man to complement his older brother’s Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray’s character in Ghostbusters). I was beat.

Thanks to premade chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge and a tub of cream cheese frosting in the cabinet, these were banged out in the few minutes here-and-there when I needed a break from cursing loudly at my sewing machine. 🙂

So…the idea is simple. Here goes:

Preheat the oven to whatever temperature the cookie dough package (or recipe for you overachievers out there) recommends. Spray (liberally) a mini-muffin pan with nonstick grease.

Don't worry about molding each one into a cup shape the way these ones were done. It actually works better if you don't.

If you’re using pre-scored cookie dough, just about one-and-a-half “dough squares” works perfectly. In other words, a package of 24 preformed dough squares will yield you about 18 of these cookie cups.

Keep storebought dough chilled until right when you’re ready to use it, or if you made homemade cookie dough, pop it in the fridge for about an hour before you go to town on these ghosts. A chilly dough ball is a less messy dough ball. Room temperature dough will get stuck all over the palm of your hands and go everywhere and make ugly cups. Word.

Using the palms of your hands, roll each piece of cookie dough into a small ball. Drop it down inside a mini-muffin tin cup. Using your finger, poke a deep impression into the center of each ball. Don’t worry about it not looking like a cup yet; it will expand in the oven. The first ones I made, I tried pressing into little muffin shapes down in the tin before baking. It was a mess, and stupidly thought out because it left more room to have to fill with frosting after they were baked. There’s only so much frosting a one-year-old needs!

Fresh outta the oven...

So anyway…fill the muffin tin with your mini-balls-with-fingertip-impressions and bake for the time recommended on the package/recipe, unless the top edges begin to turn golden early, in which case, pull those suckers out!

Don’t worry if the bottom part is still soft — you’re going to let them cool IN THE PAN for a long time before even attempting to remove them, so they’ll still be “baking” for a minute or two after you pull them from the oven. That’s why it’s important to let the top part of the cookie cup be your oven timer in this case.

Use something small and plastic (like this baby spoon) to redefine any closed-in centers a little bit. Don't push too far downward or they may fall apart when removed from the pan later.

Place whole muffin tin (with cookies intact) on a wire cooling rack. If some of the cups’ centers have completely filled in with rising dough, you can quickly use a small spoon (I used a plastic baby spoon) to press inward and redefine the cup shape a little bit while it’s still hot. Then leave them as-is and go do something else for about an hour.

When you come back, use a butterknife to carefully loosen around the top edges of the cookie cups (hopefully not much will have baked out over the top of the tin — you want tight cups, not great big ones that spread out and threaten breakage or crumbling around the edges).

Carefully remove the cooled cups from their tins. Use a decorator’s bag or a large Ziploc (with tip snipped off) to frost big dollops of cream cheese frosting in the shape of ghosts into each “cup.” Add additional decorating around the sides if desired. (I tried to make it look like my ghosts were hiding in bushes and shrubs, but they’d have looked fine without that additional icing.) Insert two inverted miniature chocolate chips for eyes into each ghost. Seal finished cups in a sealed container (like tupperware, etc.) and refrigerate immediately to prevent ghosts from drooping.

Ghostie Cups. Boo!

Even if they won’t be eaten until the next day, the combination of sealing them in an airtight container AND filling the cups with frosting should ensure that the cookie crust won’t get too hard. The frosting will moisten it up nicely from the inside out and keep them a nice, soft treat if they aren’t too badly overcooked in the tins.

And there you have it! Slacker ghost cookie cups for a one-year-old who won’t notice the difference. Voila!

Oh, and meanwhile, if you’re wondering how Ollie’s Marshmallow Man costume came out (which I know you are)…here’s a few pics of the Ritter Family Ghostbusters Halloween! (Hubby decided to be Louis Tulley–Rick Moranis’ character. I decided to be a worn-out mom abstaining from dress-up.) Happy (late) Halloween!

Dr. Peter Venkman squirting out a Jack-O-Lantern with water at the Halloween party.

 

A soft, fluffy Marshmallow Man, indeed!

Are you the Gatekeeper?

 

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2 Responses to “Halloween in Review (Continued): Ghost Cookie Cups”

  1. redforkhippie November 23, 2010 at 12:34 AM #

    Your ghosties are adorable. Especially the cuddly one with the Stay-Puft hat. 🙂

  2. Gracie November 23, 2010 at 9:01 AM #

    🙂 Thanks. Ollie was quite…puffy. Haha.

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