Auckland is in lockdown during Halloween 2021 but I made a token effort with these sugar cookies and had a go at flooding royal icing to frost my ghosts. Cookie dough is great to store in the freezer so make a double batch and keep some for a rainy day bake. It's adapted from Preppy Kitchen.

Makes 24 large cookies

2 c flour (I used wholemeal and white spelt)

2 Tbsp cornflour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 c cocoa powder

225 g butter

1 c granulated sugar (I used coconut)

1 egg

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Royal icing:

2 egg whites

1 tsp lemon juice 

3 c icing sugar, sifted - you may need more

2 piping bags

In a bowl sift the flour, cornflour, salt and cocoa and whisk to combine.

In another bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk in the egg and vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients until fully combined.

The dough will be soft but shouldn't be super sticky so add a bit more flour or cornflour if necessary.

Roll dough out to 4 mm thickness in between 2 sheets of baking paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 180C. Cut out your cookie shapes and place on 2 lined baking sheets. If your dough becomes too soft while working with it, return to the fridge to chill.

Bake for around 10 minutes until cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To make the icing, whisk the egg whites and lemon juice in a bowl until frothy. Pour two thirds of the mixture into another bowl. Slowly whisk in about 2 c icing sugar into the first bowl until a thick paste with soft peaks is formed. This is your edging icing.Transfer to a piping bag and secure the top with a clip, peg or twisty tie.

In the other bowl whisk in the remaining icing sugar to form a ribbon-like consistency. This is your flood icing. Cover it with cling film, making sure the plastic touches the top of the icing.

Once cookies are cooled, snip a 1-2mm tip off your edging icing bag and outline your cookies. I am a complete icing novice so I searched for some online tutorials on how to pipe royal icing. It's important to hold your icing bag upright and let the icing squeeze out enough to leave a trail as you move slowly around the edge of your cookies. Use the weight of the line of icing to guide you around the shape; if you move to quickly the line will break.

Remove the cling film from your flood icing and give it a stir to remove any air bubbles. Transfer to a piping bag, secure with a clip, and snip a 3mm tip off the point. Following your iced border, flood the cookie with icing from the outside to the centre. Don't worry if you don't fill the whole cookie, just use a toothpick to spread out the icing evenly before it sets. 

Any icing left over can be wrapped and frozen.

It takes a bit of effort to edge and frost cookies with royal icing but the result looks impressive, if I do say so myself!