The recipe I decided on calls for freshly cracked black pepper, which I think is probably the key ingredient in giving the cookies the right amount of heat. They were nice and crunchy, too. Oh, I parceled them out over a period of days, but I finally finished them off last night, and since today was rainy and cool, I decided more cookie-making was in order. Tonight, I mixed up a batch of Chocolate Sweet Hearts (described here, in rapturous tones, in a previous post) and pressed it gently into my Halloween molds; I'm happy to say the cookies came out lovely without benefit of cooking spray. They popped out of that pan chocolate-y and perfect as you please, cheerful little ghosties and haunted houses and bats, and were just great as an after-dinner treat with milk (as were the ginger snaps). I have been excited to discover that I can do without cooking spray, as that is one less thing to buy (a frugal baker is a happy baker).
Other than that, I braved the rain to take the trash out and check the mail (I told you not much was going on). For that, I had to put on my rain cape, which hasn't gotten much use this year. For a long time, I kept forgetting it was reversible, but tonight, in honor of the season, I turned it inside out so that the black was showing on the outside and the red became an accent visible only inside the hood. It occurred to me that it might do as a witch's cape if I needed a Halloween costume, but since I don't plan to dress up, I'll just have to be on the lookout for rainy days. If you see me coming in it, don't worry (or if to worry, not to worry unduly, as Katharine Hepburn's assistant used to say). If I have any magic, it's mostly the little domestic type that helps out in the kitchen and on cleaning days.
I will also admit to getting a kick this afternoon out of a photo feature I saw on the Internet of various pets dressed up in Halloween costumes. It looked like some of them had submitted to it more graciously than others, and some of the outfits were a little cringe-worthy (like the "dog-being-eaten by an alligator" costume), but it was all in good fun, I think. A week or two ago, I saw another photo essay of the type that usually appears around this time of year, candid photos of groups of people taken as they passed through a haunted house attraction. One feels more inclined to laugh at grown-up people looking really, really silly than at little animals looking bored, so I did, I laughed until I almost fell off the couch. The pictures were that good. (If I were goofy enough to go through a haunted house, I'm sure I'd look silly, too.)
Well, getting back to the cookies--today's Chocolate Ghoulies won't last forever, so I'll probably end up getting out the pan for another batch of something before Halloween. I don't know whether it will be ginger snaps again, or chocolate chip shortbread, or something else, but I've got all the molasses and cocoa and brown sugar and eggs I need and am pretty much ready for anything with a reasonable ratio of fat and calories to deliciousness. You may be thinking, gosh, you must be popular in your building, with all those good baking smells. Do you ever give any of those cookies away?
Well, bless your heart! Where have you been? The answer is no, of course not. Are you kidding me? Neighbors like these, and you think I'd be giving them cookies? A kick in the pants, maybe, but never cookies. If you'd like to take them under your wing, you're more than welcome to pick up the lot and cart them off. It would improve the surroundings immensely. I'm too busy looking for recipes that don't use shortening, considering pie options, and trying to keep my apartment clean. And treating the occasional water stain, of course.