October 21, 2018

Candy Corn Cookies

Candy corn is one of the most polarizing candies out there, and I'm a candy scientist so I know exactly what I'm talking about. I have a few friends who love them and can't wait for Fall to roll around, but I find them overly sweet and waxy. I can still admit that they're a quintessential treat this time of year, so I found the perfect way to spread the candy corn love without subjecting my friends (and myself) to the originals. These candy corn cookies take my favorite rolled sugar cookie dough and transform them into a seasonal treat. I've already used the recipe for festive Christmas light cookies and jammy Linzer cookies, so the possibilities are endless.

One of the reasons why I love these sugar cookies is because they hold their shape so well no matter how you cut them. I've heard rumors that it's because I use baking powder instead of baking soda, and chilling the dough is key too. The recipe is pretty standard: beat the softened butter and sugar together, add the eggs and a good splash of vanilla, then stir in your dry ingredients.

Normally I'd chill the dough for an hour or two, roll it out thin, cut it into shapes, and bake it off. These cookies are slightly different, since it's much easier to layer the colors of dough than to painstakingly cut a million shapes. After the dough mixes, I split it into three sections and dye one orange, one yellow, and leave one plain. I had to use a lot of gel food coloring to get the bright colors just right, so don't be afraid to use more than you think.

The trick to getting those signature candy corn shapes is to press the dough into layers, stack them on top of each other, slice them up, and cut each slice into triangles. I've found that a loaf pan is the perfect size to hold all the dough and helps keep everything even. It's best to let each layer chill for a few minutes before stacking the next on top so that there are clean lines between each color, but that's the perfect amount of time to mix the colors in to the next section. Once all the layers are stacked, they need to chill for at least an hour or two or you can leave them overnight.

These cookies are the perfect portable Halloween treat. They even survived my commute to work on the wonderfully crowded Chicago bus system and were devoured by my candy science coworkers who were supposedly sick of Halloween candy and sugar in general. If you're looking to round out your Halloween party menu, try some brain cupcakes or mummy cupcakes too.

2 Sticks + 2T Butter, Softened
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
3 Eggs
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
3 3/4 Cups Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Salt
Orange & Yellow Food Coloring

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt, then gradually add it to the dough.

Split the dough into 3 equal sections. Dye one orange, one yellow, and leave one plain. Line a loaf pan with saran wrap. Press the plain dough into the bottom of the pan and chill for 5 minutes. Press the orange dough on top and chill for another 5 minutes. Press the yellow dough on top, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1-2 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 375ºF and line cookie trays with parchment.

Remove the dough from the loaf pan and cut into 1/3" thick slices (1/2" is a bit too thick and 1/4" gives you crispy cookies). Cut each slice into triangles and transfer to the prepared trays. Bake for 8 minutes or until set and golden on the bottom.

Makes 80
Recipe Adapted from Back to Her Roots

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