28 Oct2006


I was looking to bake a nice dark, crisp and spicy cookie for Halloween that would hold up to the high humidity and the sugary icing I was planning to decorate it with. I found an interesting recipe for a cookie with a lot of cracked black pepper but in the hallow2end thought the kids might find it a bit strange. So I copied the look but not the recipe… Instead, I made my standby chocolate chip recipe (toll house or slightly more complicated Maida Heatter recipe), added a half cup of good cocoa to the dough, added small dark chocolate chips in addition to the large semi-sweet chips and chilled the dough for at least half an hour before baking. I formed the cookies with my hands dipped in ice water and when placed on a pan, flattened the dough with the bottom of a glass to get large and even cookies…

Once baked, they looked terrific, but they were still a bit less crisp than I would have liked. Nevertheless, I sprinkled them with powdered sugar in a ghost cut-out that came out looking pretty cool. I also made some orange icing (far too watery as you can see) and tried to make jack-o-lanterns on the cookies. They weren’t perfect by any means, but you get the idea. The cookies themselves tasted great. Any leftovers or broken cookies and all you need to do is chop them up and mix them with vanilla ice cream for a homemade version of cookies and cream…yum, great for kids and adults alike!



  1. wil-b cariaga says:

    Hi from Maldives, it’s my second day here. . . haaay tagal pa bago mag 1yr. they don’t really celebrate halloween here or even xmas. . . I miss the Philippines, there is no place like home, it’s so lonely here. . . nice cookies MM. . .

    Oct 28, 2006 | 3:48 pm


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  3. Marketman says:

    wil-b you moved to the Maldives for work for a year?!? Yipes. I hope all goes well in that island paradise… Keep visiting and you’ll at least have a vicarious “taste” of home! Good luck!

    Oct 28, 2006 | 3:54 pm

  4. Chris says:

    The irregular features due to the thin icing makes the jack-o-lantern look more spooky. =)

    Oct 28, 2006 | 5:57 pm

  5. petitefleur says:

    Yes, i agree with Chris’ comment. =) You really have great ideas, MM!

    Oct 28, 2006 | 10:20 pm

  6. pinky says:

    If you still want your cookies to get crisp after baking, let them sit on the counter uncovered for a few hours or stick ’em in a warm oven until the desired crispness.

    Oct 28, 2006 | 11:23 pm

  7. Normita says:

    I’m so disappointed with how you guys celebrate All Saints Day now, we FilAms missed so much how Undas is being celebrated back in Manila and all I’ve been reading is the American way of celebrating Holloween. Is somebody out there to write about foods cooked during “Todos Los Santos” and not Holloween costumes and cookies?

    Oct 29, 2006 | 12:33 am

  8. kaye says:

    hmmm… what’s the “special menu” you’re hoping to find here in this blog that’s supposed to be cooked during halloween? bopis? dinuguan? lengua? batchoy? those are regular everyday food.. i haven’t heard or even experienced eating certain dishes meant for “todos los santos” except for the inihaw na dried pusit that i see everytime we go to the cemetery which i just make myself when i get home for fear i might get Hepatitis from buying food peddled inside the cemetery.. and it’s only during these time that kids experience halloween as they watch it on “cable TV” since everything here is already getting “westernized” and it’s been years since filipinos have adapted halloween.. there’s even the cream halloween ball held every year, i think whatever MM wants to blog about is actually he’s call.. just wanted to air my opinion.. sorry MM if i answered the last post.. :)

    Oct 29, 2006 | 12:50 am

  9. Normita says:

    Kaye, I respect your opinion. It’s MM call. Happy Holloween!

    Oct 29, 2006 | 2:06 am

  10. Maria Clara says:

    With the baker and Maida Heatter in you, there is no excuse for not baking good cookies. I like the frosting you did, they really go with Halloween. Enjoy!

    Oct 29, 2006 | 2:32 am

  11. oggi says:

    I am also wondering what the Philippines’ connection is to the ancient Celtic pagan celebration of what was THEIR New Year, a transition from the last harvest to the oncoming winter which was adapted by the Americans through the Irish people and was “made official” by Mary Todd Lincoln by having Halowe’en party at the White House. But any excuse to have a party and eat good food couldn’t be bad, I suppose.

    Oct 29, 2006 | 4:40 am

  12. Marketman says:

    Hi guys, I actually did a post on the history of Halloween last year, that does trace it back to the Celts as oggi suggests. Actually, this is totally an adopted holiday. In the 1970’s, when my family moved to Makati, our village was one of only a handful that even had trick or treating. I recall with fondness doing the rounds as many foreign families lived in the neighborhood and they had access to ther embassy commissaries which meant we got an occasional snickers bar, apple, etc. which frankly made this is a tremendously worthy endeavor for a 7 year old. As the years progressed, more and more folks adopted the holiday simply because it is so incredibly child friendly in a sense. Soon villages were competing with decorations, etc. and in some cases, tens of thousands of “guests” were flocking to the villages for trick or treating. Today, I make sure that I have a lot of candy on hand, most times enough for 2,000-3,000 kids… As with Christmas, the commercial side has taken over and exploited it to a degree…with malls et al really using the holiday as an excuse to sell… While I do enjoy the holiday, it does NOT take away from the fact that All Saints and All Souls Day follows. Many millions of Filipinos pay their respects to their ancestors in cemeteries across the country on All Saints Day (Nov.1), which by the way, I think is presumptious since Nov. 2 is All Souls Day, and thus we are all just thinking our ancestors were so peachy keen… However, oddly, in our family, we never had special meals on Nov. 1… maybe because we never camped out at the cemetery, being far more practical and visiting instead at other times of the year instead of participating in the near overnight jamboree that occurs on Nov 1. I am curious if others did and would love to hear about them… I just asked our cook what they did in back home in the province and she says they cooked up several dishes, kakanins, etc. and put it out on a table in their home with a candle and left it out overnight, so that dead relatives could “feast” on it… I presume that is adobo, suman, etc. as it would not spoil from being out for many hours…hmmm, that is interesting… could it be we were far less into this holiday because my dad was Protestant and mom Catholic?

    Oct 29, 2006 | 8:29 am

  13. Maria Clara says:

    I, for one feel that All Saint’s Day is a sacred day – giving due respect to our dearly departed loved ones – day for prayer and remembrance. Due in part being raised in Catholic faith. Some people are totally out of this day – they trekked to the cemetery like going on an excursion to the beach with ice chest full of sodas, beer, hard liquor and ice with variety of foods. I do not really understand where they are coming. I had seen some folks just leaving all their mess right there by the graves of their loved ones. Can they not have drinks at their own house and dinner before going to the cemetery? Snack foods are okay and soda in my view. I had seen people carting out cook wares filled with foods. Some families with big mausoleum even played mahjong or other card games. Where the sacred observance of this day?

    Oct 29, 2006 | 9:19 am

  14. petitefleur says:

    Hi MM! My mom is a Protestant and my dad is a Catholic but we both celebrate All Saint’s Day in the cemetery. Mom’s from Aurora while Dad’s from Pampanga. There’s a difference though since in Aurora, there’s only suman to keep your tummy full while relatives share stories over the dead. In Pampanga food is overflowing – a real feast! Butong pakwan and cornick goes with it too to accompany campers. Hehe! The “celebration” starts early in the morning till late at night. I agree with Maria Clara that some families even play card games. I guess time/season changes our values…

    Oct 29, 2006 | 10:59 am

  15. tulip says:

    Like you Marketman, it has never been our family custom to go and visit our deceased family members during All Saints’ Day or All Souls’ Day. My parents are both Protestants but they grew up Catholics. My mom used to share her childhood experiences to me. During “Undas” and Holy Week my grandma cooks kakainin called Sinukmani (biko in Batangas), puto, soup, banana fritters, etc. for them to eat at home-not at the cemetery and not for the dead. They just pay a visit, say a little prayer and go back home and feast on whatever my lola cooked. They celebrate the holiday, not to mourn but to just remember the deceased….but never to party with mobile discos, coleman ice box with liqours in tow at the moseleum!! I think Halloween party should be held somewhere else. heehee ;)

    Oct 29, 2006 | 2:18 pm

  16. Chris says:

    We just go to the cemetery to pray but that’s because Loyola in Marikina is quite accessible and it is not much of a trek going there on Nov. 1. I don’t really see any point in staying overnight only to get drunk, gamble, or get lost (as a lot of kids do), heheh.

    Oct 29, 2006 | 5:21 pm

  17. Dodi says:

    My folks became more practical as the years went by and we grew older. We now go to the church to pray for our dearly departed in or around this time of the year and we participate less in the “circus” that happens in the cemetery. In remembrance, we do put a votive candle out on the fence, and always, prayers are included. My mom would also cook “suman sa lihya” with “latik” for merienda(I buy it now, as my mom lives abroad now). I don’t mind the westernized version as long as the kids are safe and have the most fun.
    These days,after having paid our respects for the departed, I usually host a halloween party for the neighborhood kids, we tell each other ghost stories and they scare ourselves silly but the kids have FUN but to top it, I get to remind them of the day’s significance.

    Oct 29, 2006 | 5:49 pm

  18. renelmac says:

    For our family, Nov. 1 is kinda like a small reunion for the family, some of us spend the whole day at the cemetary meeting with old friends of those who have passed away recalling the wonderful times , part of this is our little feast, usually pancit, fried chicken and lumpiang shanghai, coupled with juice or coke. and before going home we spend a few minutes doing the rosary. its kind of like a small fiesta for our departed loved ones.

    Oct 30, 2006 | 9:34 am

  19. SimplePleasure says:

    Happy Halloween! i bet the kids loves those cookies of yours.

    Oct 30, 2006 | 9:34 am

  20. mardie says:

    happy halloween to all! great-looking cookies MM.

    Oct 30, 2006 | 10:23 am

  21. math says:

    Happy Halloween to you MM & to everyone! Those cookies look yummy!

    Oct 30, 2006 | 1:09 pm

  22. fried-neurons says:

    It should be noted that the tradition of remembering and honoring dead loved ones on November 1st is not a purely Catholic one. All Saints’ Day, in the Catholic tradition, is for honoring (as the name suggests) saints, as well as martyrs who died for Holy Mother Church. Undas as celebrated in the Philippines, on the other hand… it’s an amalgamation of the Catholic tradition of commemoration and the Aztec custom of honoring the dead on a special day. So the Philippine custom probably came to us from Mexico (Dia de los Muertos), by way of the Galleon Trade.

    Having said that… I like Halloween, too! I never decorate, though, so trick-or-treaters hardly ever come to my door. Nevertheless, I still buy a lot of candy just in case kids come a-knocking. They usually don’t, but that’s okay because it just means more candy for me!!!

    Oct 30, 2006 | 3:26 pm

  23. Ed says:

    Maria Clara —

    But, of course, in many parts of the world, being “sacred” does not always equate with being “solemn” and “silent”. This is what I find refreshing about Day of the Dead celebrations – death is seen as simply a natural process, rather than something to be hushed over. The aesthetic division of sacred=solemn=silent=orderly >

    Nov 1, 2006 | 9:58 am

  24. Ed says:

    Arghh – the rest of my post was left out!

    Anyway, the aesthetic division of sacred=solemn=silent=orderly vs. profane=noisy=chaotic appears unmistakably European.

    For example, it seems that only in the Philippines will one see images of Catholic saints being rocked “violently” back and forth to the sound of a brass band. (Images in Latin American countries, as far as I know, are paraded in a more “orderly” fashion.) This “rocking” is quite reminiscent of the treatment of Japanese “mikoshi” (palanquins for divine figures) and Balinese cremation towers. Perhaps these are signs of a pan-Asian treatment of religious rites? I don’t really know.

    Nov 1, 2006 | 10:02 am

  25. Marketman says:

    Ed, thanks for that. I truly love it when this site and its readers enter the realm of the more intelligent and enlightening discussions… Though I occasionally pander to an ALL OUT RANT once in a while which doesn’t require a minimum IQ at all…

    Nov 1, 2006 | 10:26 am

  26. edee says:

    here’s an article from Inquirer about All Soul’s day cooking traditon

    Nov 2, 2006 | 1:51 am

  27. Marketman says:

    edee, thanks for that. As I read this link, a long-time employee just arrived this morning, Nov. 2, 2006, All Souls Day, bearing several suman or budbud and biko, their traditional foods for the day…amazing…now, out comes a mango and there goes the diet…

    Nov 2, 2006 | 7:43 am

  28. izang says:

    during this time, we usually cook the ginataang bilo-bilo…….the staple during halloween……

    Nov 2, 2006 | 1:03 pm


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