Almond Shortbread Calderas Cookies

Almond shortbread calderas cookies. I kind of made them up.

Halloween was a big deal for us this year. Big projects, big fun. Today I’ve been so tired that I just felt like trying to put our home back together again, creating some order out of the costuming chaos, and getting back to normal (chaos). More about Halloween later, but …

I meant to make these groovy witch finger cookies on Halloween, but there wasn’t time to do it. I wondered if I could use a similar recipe to create something fun for Dia de los Muertos. Honestly I didn’t know if these would work.

1 cup butter softened (which to me means microwaved for 35–40 seconds after being in the fridge; is that what it really means?)
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups whole wheat flour
flowery sprinkles or stars (optional)

Butter sugar almond cookies. I have no idea how these will turn out when they are baked.

Cream together butter and sugar, add vanilla and almond flavorings, and then add in flour, a half cup at a time. Roll about a tablespoon of dough into a ball. With the end of a big spoon, chopstick, or other poky object, poke two eye holes. With a knife, draw a mouth line. With the tines of a fork, make a quick stroke up from the mouth line to make upper teeth, and another stroke down to make lower teeth. With a narrow skewer or similar object, make a little triangle nose hole. Now with your thumb and forefinger pinch the jaw of your face a little to make it narrower than the cranium. Place the skull on a greased cookie sheet. The most important feature of your caldera is the eye holes, so if they’ve become too squished while making the other features, use the same eye-hole making object to poke the eye holes again to make them nice and round and dominate the skull shape. Do this a bunch of times till you use up all the dough. Asher (5 years old) enjoyed making skulls too, and his are pretty great.

Now, if you want your calderas skulls to be flowery, push some flower sprinkles or stars, or whatever into the skulls. Personally, I think a few flowers go a long way toward creating the Dia de los Muertos look. I didn’t put flowers on all of my cookies and the plain ones look pretty cool too.


Here they are baked—simultaneously cheerful and spooky—and ready to eat. They got a bit bigger in the baking, but kept their basic shape beautifully. By the way, I used whole wheat flour because that’s what I had. Because of the whole wheat flour, I upped the sugar to 3/4 cup. Your skulls will look whiter if you use all purpose flour, and you might not need as much sugar.

How’s that for a recipe post created late on the night of the holiday for which it is appropriate? OK, night-night. I hope you’ve had a lovely day and that you were were able to take a moment to remember those you love who have passed out of this world. Remember them fondly.

One Response to “Almond Shortbread Calderas Cookies”

  • heathermama
    November 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    those cookies look yummy and just a wee bit creepy. LOL


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    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

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