CANDY CORN SUGAR COOKIES
1 pouch (about 15-17 oz.) sugar cookie mix
5 to 7 TB butter (depends on the size of your cookie mix), melted
about 1/4 tsp. orange extract or orange essence...…………….1 egg
1 TB dark unsweetened cocoa powder (plus more as needed for kneading dark cookie dough later)
orange gel food color
about 2 TB flour ~plus~ flour as needed (for kneading dough)
2 oz. semisweet or unsweetened chocolate, melted, cooled
Line an 8" or 9" loaf pan with parchment paper, extending paper over sides of pan. In medium bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms. (I used a bowl with wooden spoon.) If it seems a little dry (maybe your cookie mix is larger), you can add a touch of vegetable oil.
TIP: Plan to work right next to your sink, if possible. You will want to be able to wash your hands (and work surface) frequently ~ after working with the orange food color, and after working with the cocoa powder. (The cocoa powder, especially, will get under your nails and all over your hands.)
Sprinkle a little flour on your work surface and put 3/4 cup of dough on it. Knead orange food color and extract into dough until color is uniform. Press orange dough evenly in bottom of pan. Clean your hands and the work surface.
Divide remaining dough in half. Put half of the dough back into your bowl. Add the melted chocolate, 1 TB cocoa powder and 2 TB flour. Knead it in until it's uniform in color. If you want, you can do the actual kneading (after the melted chocolate is mostly incorporated and isn't as messy) on your work surface. (I use more unsweetened cocoa powder with just a little flour when I'm kneading chocolate, so that it isn't too white from kneading on all floured surface.) Then press the chocolate dough evenly over the orange dough in the pan. (I pressed it down pretty hard, since it can be a little crumbly from the unsweetened cocoa powder.)
Gently press remaining plain dough into pan on top of chocolate dough. Refrigerate 1-1/2 to 2 hours (or even overnight) or until firm.
Heat oven to 375°F. Put parchment paper on baking sheets.
Remove dough from pan. Cut crosswise into 1/2" to 1" thick slices. (I like them fairly thick or they're barely a bite-ful.) Cut each slice into 6 or 7 triangles and put onto the baking sheets (they won't spread, so can be fairly close together). (TIPS: (1) I took all the crumbs and squished them together and made balls; flatten them down and bake them too. (2) Store whatever you don't want to use, wrapped in the parchment paper, and then in a zip-top baggie in the refrigerator. Slice & bake as you need them another time.)
Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are set and edges are very light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container. Makes about 6-dozen cookies (depends how thick you make your slices)
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