So it’s WAY past #totoroweek now, but I found this in my draft folder and thought what a shame I didn’t publish this! It’s actually closer to the date for this year, but I kept the scheduled date and hopefully everything below still makes sense!
I went with my favourite go-to brownie roll-out cookie recipe from smittenkitchen.com. They’re so easy to make and I love the thickness of them that gives you that nice soft chew when you bite into Totoro.
Howard ordered the Totoro cookie cutter for me from Amazon – surprisingly we haven’t been able to find one in Japan and neither have our relatives when they go travel. You have to be extra careful around the ears, but this dough holds together very well.
For the belly, I used the recipe from seriouseat.com‘s rolled sugar cookie. These could go as thin as you like since they puff up a bit after baking.
I don’t own cookie cutters for every size and shape, sometimes you have to improvise. Here I’m using the opening of a large piping tip to punch out the dough.
That’s right, I’m holding a Totoro belly there.
Stick them onto the chocolate dough and then bake as instructed at 350°F for about 10 minutes. Allow them to cool before you decorate.
I whipped up a tiny batch of vanilla royal icing. Got out my milk chocolate crispearls and got to work on the eyes, nose, and whiskers. After that, I dyed the royal icing black to create the belly marks (^^^).
I remember packing these Totoro cookies up in individual clear bags with twist-ties. Some very lucky colleagues at work go to eat (some said they would simply keep it as is) during their tea breaks.
Dear Becca and Cale,
Thank you for bringing cute adorable ghosts to the world. I am such a scaredy-cat when it comes to spooky and paranormal things, but both of your picture books have made me look at ghosts in a different way.
To celebrate the Halloween season, I made some ghost cookies based on your illustrations from How to Make Friends with a Ghost and Sir Simon: Super Scarer. My first task was finding the perfect cookie cutter, which turned out to be a tulip shape that I could use upside-down!
Rolled Sugar Cookies
Recipe adapted from Serious Eats
115 grams unsalted butter
100 grams coconut oil
225 grams sugar
5 grams table salt
7 grams vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
355 grams all-purpose flour
- There are a few things I omitted from the original recipes, so make sure you check out the original link in case you want to follow it through and through. I also used a scale to weight everything out in grams for this recipe.
- In a stand mixer, combine the butter, coconut oil, sugar, salt, vanilla extra, and baking powder together. It should come together on medium speed until it’s fluffy and light. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add in the egg and continue to mix until combined.
- Add the flour and mix on low until well combined. Take the dough out divide it in half. Flatten in into discs and wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight or for at least two hours.
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F and move the oven racks to the lower middle positions. Place parchment paper on your baking trays.
- Take the dough out so that it warms up to room temperature. Gently knead it so that it’s easier to roll.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of ¼ inch. Cut with your tulip cookie cutter and slide a spatula underneath to help loosen it and transfer to the baking tray. Repeat until all of the dough has been used. You can knead together the scraps to be rolled out again.
- Place the baking trays in the oven and bake for about 12 minutes. The cookies should be slightly puffed, but firm and pale.
- Let the cookies cool for another half hour on the baking tray.
I whipped up a batch of royal icing to pipe out the faces. I don’t have a precise recipe for it as I usually do this in a small bowl and adjust until the icing consistency is how I like it. So since it’s based on how it feels, I have never measured out the icing sugar and water ratio.
I filled out a piping bag with the smallest round tip to create their sweet faces. Then I dabbed my finger into the pink food dye to create the ghosts’ blush.
It was my first time making this recipe. I loved that the cookies stayed pale after baking, we don’t want any golden-edged ghosts here. But I found the dough so hard to work with, it would crumble every time I tried to roll it out. Yet, the small batch I did came together. I did like the coconut aroma and it did help keep the cookies soft and chewy.
Regardless of my baking notes, I’m glad they were a hit and everyone seemed to enjoy gobbling these ghosts down.
*Disclaimer: I work in marketing and publicity for Tundra Books, which publishes both How to Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green and Sir Simon: Super Scarer by Cale Atkinson.