Halloween is coming! Are you excited? Since I am a chef, I love dressing my children as food. My son Max won a Halloween costume contest at my former husband's office when he was three. He was a handsome hamburger! Last year, my daughter Amber was peanut butter, and I was jelly. There is a strict allergy food policy at her school. No nuts allowed. She was the only peanut butter allowed to enter the school! What an honor! This year my daughter, now Miss Independent, has her own idea. She is tired of being food—aside from peanut butter, she's been a cake and a donut. This year, she wants to be an iPhone. She's technically savvy, unlike her mother. I decided to be a hot dog since I'm a hot mama, and I was born in the year of the dog! (Don't guess which year, please!)
Every year, there is a "Halloween snack challenge" held at school. I'm fully aware that this is not a challenge for the children but the parents. The parents at Amber's school are competitive. I can tell because a teacher takes photos of all the snacks and shares them on Instagram. Looking at those homemade snacks, I can tell parents put a lot of thought into it. None of them look like the random Halloween snack you pick from a Dollar Tree or CVS. Even though I love Dollar Tree, I know it's time for me to put some work into this project and create a fun memory with my girl.
As we brainstormed ideas for the contest, I got to thinking about how much I love New England seasons. My children and I experience seasons through food. We pick berries in early summer, peaches in late summer, and apples in fall. For her school's snack contest, I thought we could make a cookie that reflects our sweet memories of the summer—a reminder of those happy days when we went to the farm and harvested those delicious fruits. We typically get a lot of fruit from the farm. I used some to make a pie, and the rest to make jam. Amber's favorite is peach jam, and her second favorite is blueberry jam. We have homemade jam in our fridge all year. So, I decided to make mummy butter cookies with blueberry jam and peach jam.
If you don't have homemade jam, any apricot and blueberry jam from the supermarket will work fine. You can get edible googly eyes from Michaels and other arts and craft stores. Remember to get some mini paintbrushes when you go to the art supply store. Use the brush to apply corn syrup as glue to stick the googly eyes on the mummy. It's a fun cookie project.
Since it's a butter cookie dough, it's important to quickly roll out the dough after you take it out of the fridge. Never let it sit at room temperature for a while. The butter of the dough will start to melt, and you won't be able to roll out the dough and cut them into strips and rectangles.
Mummy Butter Cookie
For the crust:
- 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
- 12 ounces all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling and the toppings:
- 1 cup fruit jam such as raspberry apricot, blueberry, grape, and peach
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon milk
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
To make the dough:
- Add salt, sugar, and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat until light and fluffy for about 3 minutes. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula as needed.
- In a small bowl, add egg and vanilla. Using a fork, mix together. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the egg mixture into the butter and sugar. Beat until well incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula as needed.
- In two servings, add flour to the bowl, mixing on low speed until the ingredients combine, scraping the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula between the flour additions.
- Gather dough onto a surface, divide into two portions, shape each into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour.
To make the cookies:
- Roll out the first disk of dough into a 1/8-inch thick rectangle, about 12 x 8 inches onto a floured surface. Trim the edges to get them straight, then cut into rectangles using a ruler. Mark 3/4-inch rectangles and cut out with a knife or a pizza wheel. This will give you 8 rectangles. Arrange the rectangles on a prepared baking sheet, spaced 1 inch apart, and refrigerate.
- Roll out the second dough disc to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a knife or a pizza wheel, cut thin strips in varying widths, 1/4 to 1/2 inches wide to create the mummy "wrap."
To assemble the mummies:
- Spread 1 tablespoon of jam onto each rectangle, leaving the rim on all sides uncoated. Brush the uncoated edges with the mixture of lightly beaten egg yolk and 1 teaspoon milk. Top with the strips to create the mummy look, then seal the edges with your fingertips, and trim the excess of the strips. Brush the strips with egg yolk and sprinkle with the mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and a 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon.
- Bake until golden brown.
- Stick Googly eyes onto the cooled mummies.
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Melissa is 100% MIT (Made in Taiwan), where she worked as a food writer. She’s also worked alongside renowned chefs like Ming Tsai and Joanne Chang, honing her craft and gathering stories along the way. Part story-teller, part educator, and part food lover, Melissa brings a special blend of experience, skill, and enthusiasm to her work. She blends her Asian background, her new home of New England, and love of food and culture to bring joy, optimism, and inspiration to food lovers and fun-seekers everywhere.
What sparked your passion for the industry?
The desire to make things by hand. The joy of sharing delicious, hearty food with students. The opportunity for people to get connected via cooking and baking. When a child smiled broadly and told me it’s the best scone he has ever made and eaten, it really made my day!
In your opinion, what’s the most important course?
Well, I usually take a peek at the wine list first. I like tapas style, so the course doesn’t really matter. Cheese and charcuterie are always a good place to start. And since I’m a pastry chef, there is always room for dessert!
Bill Gates is picking up your tab, where would you go?