- 250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened
- 250g/9oz golden caster sugar
- 2 free-range eggs (beaten)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 500g/1lb 2oz plain flour
- Food colouring of choice (optional)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Halloween-themed cookie cutters
- red, white and black writing icing
- 200g/7oz ready-to-roll fondant icing
- 1 tbsp apricot jam, warmed with a little water
- Beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl, preferably using an electric mixer, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. (If the mixture looks a little curdled, add a spoonful of the flour.) If you’re using food colouring, add a few drops to the mixture.
- Sift together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Stir the flour into the butter mixture and work into a dough using floured hands. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead into a ball (the dough will be quite wet). Divide the dough into two portions, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
- Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on lightly floured work surface. (It’s best to roll out one portion of the dough at a time, leaving the remainder in the fridge.) Cut shapes out with the Halloween cutters. Take a few limbs and heads off the gingerbread man for added gore.
- Place the cookies onto the baking tray, leaving a gap between them in case they spread a little.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Once cool, go wild!. Use the writing icing along the edges of the missing limbs and heads as blood. For the skeletons and mummies, roll the fondant icing out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on a work surface dusted with icing sugar and cut out shapes using the same cutters as the cookies. Brush the cookies with the warmed apricot jam and stick the icing onto the cookies. Decorate with more writing icing.