Chocolate Haunted House
- In a large bowl beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until a soft dough forms. Shape dough into a ball. Chill 30 minutes. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper to 1/4-inch thickness. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment.
- Remove parchment from rolled dough. Arrange House and Chimney pattern pieces on top of dough, leaving at least 1 inch between each. Cut out pattern pieces with a sharp paring knife. Remove scraps; reroll as needed. If desired, cut out additional rectangles to make door panels and shutters. If you want the house to stand, cut 3x3-inch rectangles for "kickstands". Bake on prepared sheets 12 minutes or until firm. Cool on parchment.
- For windows, line a baking sheet with foil. crush desired-color hard candies. Bake candies on prepared sheet for 5 minutes or until melted; let cool. Break into pieces large enough to cover windows. Drizzle with some melted chocolate-flavor candy coating to resemble broken glass; let cool until chocolate is set. Attach windows to back of cookie using additional melted candy coating. Spread Cocoa-Cream Cheese Frosting or purchased chocolate frosting to create roof shingles. Using frosting, attach baked pieces or chocolate graham crackers for front door, shutters, and chimney. Attach candy corn, candy pumpkin, and stick candy for pillars and landscaping using additional melted chocolate candy coating. Pipe on details using black and orange decorating icing. Let stand until icing is set. To stand house, attach kickstand rectangles at the base of the back of the house with melted candy coating. Support the house between heavy objects, such as canned food, to keep it upright until chocolate sets.
From the Test Kitchen
Cocoa-Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl beat 1, 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened, 1/2 cup butter, softened, and 2 teaspoons vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 5 cups powdered sugar and 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder to reach spreading consistency. Makes 3 1/2 cups.