28 October 2008

Vampire cookies and Zombie cocktails

Happy Halloween! With the recent popularity of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight franchise and HBO’s True Blood, it’s pretty obvious that vampires are everywhere. Including our kitchen. And when we came across this recipe from the Baking Bites blog for Vampire Cookies, we decided it was time to pay culinary tribute to tribute to the most ubiquitous, and sexiest, of all of the undead.

  • 1 ½ sticks of butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • approx. ½ cup red jelly (use any flavor but make sure it’s not chunky or seedy, kind of like what your mom used to put in your PB&Js)
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and extracts.
Add flour and salt to the bowl and mix them into the butter-sugar mixture at low speed until dough is just combined.

Important to note, lest you begin baking late into the evening: Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

For your own Vampire Weekend (yeah, we went there): While you’re waiting, make some cocktails and watch an ivy league kid channel John Cusack and Robert Smith:

Preheat oven to 325F. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out 2-inch rounds.
Place rounds on a baking sheet, put a teaspoon of jam on each of them and cover with another round of dough. Press edges down lightly, pinching the edges onto the cookie sheet. Use a toothpick and poke two small holes (like a vampire bite) in the top of each cookie.

They look like little ghosts!

Here's the thing: this dough is damn nigh impossible to roll out. No matter how cold it was or how much flour we used, it still became a sticky mess on the rolling pin and our hands. We finally abandoned the cookie cutter method and rolled the dough into balls, then smushed them ourselves into little jelly pockets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are set.
Cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Dip a toothpick in some extra red jam and re-insert in the “bite” holes you made before baking to emphasize them, if not already red. Draw a blood trickle down from one of the bites with the jam, because that looks pretty badass.

The result was scary.
These expand a lot, some ending up completely flat, and they didn't end up looking how we hoped (see Baking Bites for a picture of our hopes). But if nothing else they are tasty, and the hot jam squirts into your mouth when you bite into the cookie, which is just the kind of vampire effect we were looking for.

Though they aren’t as sexy, zombies are also pretty popular:

The Zombie was created before WWII by Donn Beach, the man responsible for the popularization of tiki drinks in America. As the story goes, Beach served the first Zombie to a patron as a hangover cure. How did the drinker feel after? Like the living dead, of course. (For the longer version of the Don the Beachcomber story, plus other great details about rum in general, pick up Wayne Curtis’ And a Bottle of Rum.)

Like the Mai Tai and the rest of the tiki clan, the Zombie’s a massive combination of tropical fruit juices and liquor. And there are scores of recipes for it, all with their own tweaks. The basic gist of most of them is several types of rum, lime juice, pineapple or other tropical juice, often a shot of apricot brandy, then garnished with mint, powdered sugar and a float of 151-proof rum.

But for how much us New Yorkers like to boast about having everything at our fingertips, we weren’t able to find a few common ingredients. If you know where to find orgeat syrup or falernum in the city please tell us. Otherwise one of the upcoming posts will involve making our own falernum. We also opted out of the usual jigger of apricot brandy.

Despite skipping a few pieces, we still have a hell of a lot of ingredients:

There were so many recipes, all of them different from one another, that we improvised a bit. Here’s our first version:
  • 1 1/2 oz Bacardi white rum
  • 1 ½ oz Bacardi gold rum
  • Dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 oz Passion fruit nectar
  • 1 oz Pineapple juice
  • 1 oz Papaya juice
  • ½ oz Pernod
Shake with ice and strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Top with a float of Bacardi 151, powdered sugar, mint sprig and fruit garnish (in our case papaya and pineapple).
For the number of bartender’s guides that call for it, we can’t understand why anyone would want this drink with Pernod. The liquorice aftertaste turns it from a tropical drink into something medicinal. In our second try, we skipped the Pernod and added a little maraschino liqueur and a smidge of superfine sugar.

Much better, but next time we'll probably add BRRAAAAAAINS...


  1. i may need to forbid youtube videos, they eff with the formatting. column must not be wide enough.

    the vampire bite cookies are a fun idea, but i abhor jelly. any ideas on substitutions?

  2. ok i fixed the formatting by sticking them in slide ... before they were going over the text in the sidebar.

  3. How do you feel about jam or preserves?

    Seriously though, try some kind of red fruit sauce (though you might want to strain it for chunks and seeds). The consistency might be a little off, but if the dough makes a firm pocket they'll probably be fine.

  4. For the record, we had some pretty weird dreams after eating and drinking these. Perhaps we're haunted, but someone should try them anyway and see how they turn out.

  5. i approve!
    i am totally going to make the vampire cupcakes from the baking bites blog.

  6. i am soo fiending a nice alcoholic beverage right now...



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