Halloween isn't just for kids. It's also a time for grown-ups to flex their creative muscles and get in on all the spooky antics, whether that means dressing up as the devil Donald Trump, shaking up a scary cocktail, or whipping up the best-looking holiday treat you'll actually want to eat. So we enlisted Lonny recipe maven Diana Yen of the New York–based studio the Jewels of New York to turn the classic Pepperidge Farm Milano-cookie graveyard into an elegant adults-only affair. Here, black sesame–flavored cookie sandwiches are topped with royal icing epitaphs and dug into an Oreo "dirt" for an otherworldly look. Make it the focal point of your Halloween table centerpiece or, for a really sophisticated bash, place one headstone (embellished with the names of your guests) at each setting.
Black Sesame Graveyard Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen sandwich cookies
For the black sesame ganache:
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons black sesame paste
- 6 ounces white chocolate
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the black sesame shortbread headstones:
- ⅓ cup black sesame paste (found in natural food stores and Japanese markets)
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- royal icing, recipe follows
- 1 pound package chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed in food processor
Make the black sesame ganache:
Bring heavy cream and black sesame paste to a boil over medium-high heat in a
saucepan. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes to melt. Add
butter and whisk until smooth. Leave to chill in the refrigerator 1-2 hours until set.
Make the black sesame shortbread headstones:
In a mixing bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the black sesame
paste and butter until mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar
and continue to beat for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and salt just until fully absorbed. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out chilled dough on a lightly
floured surface to ⅛-inch thick. Using a paring knife, cut gravestone shapes out
of dough and place on baking sheet. Chill cookies in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Bake cookies for 20-25 minutes, until set but not browned, and let stand for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Spread generous amount of sesame ganache onto half of the cookies. Top with another cookie and gently press to adhere. Decorate headstones with royal icing. Spread chocolate cookie crumbs into a shallow tray. Place gravestones into crumbs to stand upright.
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons cream
Whisk together, adding more cream if necessary. Transfer to a disposable pastry
bag fitted with a round tip or squeeze bottle.