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My mom made the above Halloween crib decoration (hung high enough so we wouldn’t get strangled!), which my dad sent as a photo in an email recently, pondering, “Maybe this is what burned in the craft synapses in your brains.” That is my sister (18 months older than I) in the picture, and it does seem like “craftiness” was all around us from a very young age, from holiday decorations to the clothes we wore. My mom also made the following candy corn shirts, which are soooooo RAD, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen them (!), as well as the candy corn costume my sister is wearing:

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I love how they match our colorful kitchen, which still looks pretty much the same, minus the candy corn shirted parents. I just noticed the macrame plant holder in the back, which I’m guessing one of them made. Well, I created my own candy corn creations in crochet form, but after seeing my mom’s, well, I shall have to add to our collective repetoire.

Even though I was always social and part of the “cool kids”, I was such a nerd at heart: my sister and I made bar graphs (on graph paper!) to illustrate how much of each kind of Halloween candy we received trick-or-treating. Talk about taking the fun out of a fun activity! Nah, we voluntarily did it, but I can’t remember who came up with the idea. We sorted the candy into piles, before eating ANY of it, in order to have an accurate representation, and then tallied them up. I still have the graphs somewhere. I guess I was also a “domestic” at heart as well, because for a few summers, around the same time, I would go to the library and take out about 10 cookbooks at once. I would read them, and I mean READ them from start to finish, recording the ones I liked on index cards and filing them away for future use. One of the recipes was “Candy Corn Shortbread,” but I had never made it until today! This is my own interpretation…

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The recipe is after the jump!

Shortbread is so easy to make and is one of those desserts that requires so few ingredients to be good. I also like it because it lends itself to being vegan quite easily, a quality I look for when I’m baking for those who don’t eat dairy products. (Check the “vegan-ness” of the food coloring, though!)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
Yellow food coloring
Red food coloring

Mix butter (or marg.) and sugar in a large bowl. It will be crumbly!

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Stir in flour and then scrape out of the bowl onto some waxed paper. Now you will divide the dough into parts. 3 parts dough will be for the orange, 2 parts for the yellow, and 1 part for the white. (You can divide it up into sixths first if you want to be really accurate).

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For the dough with 3 parts, mix with 10 drops of yellow food coloring and 4 drops of red. I like to mix this with my bare hands, because shortbread dough can be crumbly and your hands will help moisten it. Yikes, what a scary picture, but apt for Halloween time?

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For the dough with 2 parts, mix with 7 drops of yellow food coloring. And, of course, leave the 1 part of dough alone! (It looks like playdoh!)

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On top of waxed paper (or plastic wrap), pat the yellow dough into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle that is 9X2 inches. You can eyeball it, or actually measure it like I did, since it was my first time making these!

Pat the orange dough into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle measuring 9X1 3/4 inches.

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Place the orange rectangle on top of the yellow, and roll out the remaining white dough as if you were rolling a log until it’s 9X3/4 inch. Place that on top of the orange.

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Wrap the waxed paper or plastic wrap around the dough, carefully pressing it into a triangle shape. This one’s hard to illustrate, but you’ll probably just “feel” it!

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Roll it a few times to get the different colors of dough to smoosh together a little.

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Chill in fridge for 2 hours or until hardened.

And we’re back! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grab a cookie sheet and a sharp knife. Cut into 1/4 inch slices.

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I would do all the slicing at once, while the dough is as chilled as possible. Make slices quickly (the dough is so hard that it will be easy to cut through). Arrange on a cookie sheet.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they look set, i.e., not shiny. It should make about 3 dozen.

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If you don’t hoard these all for yourself, go share with your friends and family!

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