When we moved from Arizona to Tokyo 8 years ago, we put some of our belongings into semi-permanent storage knowing that some things just wouldn't fit into a house that was two-thirds smaller than the one we were leaving, and we couldn't bear to part with some of our material things. Along with several bookshelves, tons of books, an antique partner's desk and Peter's grandmother's china, I also stashed away all of our Halloween decorations, thinking that was one holiday that was not celebrated much here. Other than foreigners getting dressed up in costume and riding around in the last car of the Yamanote train line on Halloween night, back when we lived in Tokyo in the 90's, I didn't expect much for All Hallow's Eve.
But was I wrong. Come Halloween night in the Azabu area where many ex-pat families live, it's like walking around a neighborhood in the USA; costumed children carrying their bags of goodies, going door-to-door with parents following behind, it makes you feel right at home. I've heard this area is so famous for its candy handouts that families from outside the area come in by the busloads to go trick-or-treating. It sure does seem that way when you see the number of children traipsing around the streets of Moto-Azabu.
The preschool, where I teach part-time, will have its Halloween parade and party this Friday, and I thought it would be cute to have some ghostly treats. I love Halloween, it makes me feel like a kid again. Happy Haunting!
Adapted from a sugar cookie recipe from an amazing blog, Bake at 350.
Makes about 70 cookies, using a 2 inch ghost cookie cutter
226 grams (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
With a heavy duty mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. Set aside. Add egg and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat well. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Divide the dough into two and form into rounds. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350For 180C. On a floured surface, roll out one round of dough until desired thickness, about 1/4 inch. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes and edges are golden brown.
200 g (1 cup) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon meringue powder
6 tablespoons warm water
With a heavy duty mixer, beat together all ingredients until the frosting is fluffy and glossy, about 6 minutes. Add enough water to achieve the consistency you want to frost the cookies. Be careful and add only a teaspoon of water at a time to make it similar to the thickness of honey.