Ichabod Crane’s Halloween Candy Cookies

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When I mentioned the Legend of Sleepy Hollow to my children, I was greeted with blank stares.
“Sleepy what?” my 11 year-old asked.
One of the classic, creepy Halloween tales and my kids didn’t know anything about it.
“Isn’t that a TV show?” my 13-year-old piped up.
Time to read up on scary tales! Washington Irving’s the Legend of Sleepy Hollow was first published in 1820 as part of a collection of short stories. The tale has been fascinating – and frightening – readers ever since.
Here’s the gist: The main character (besides Mr. Headless) is Ichabod Crane, a class-seeking schoolteacher who comes to the tucked away glen of Sleepy Hollow. In town he woos the young, wealthy Katrina Van Tassel. Katrina shows Ichabod some interest she’s also pursued by the local hero, albeit prankster, Brom Van Brunt, know as “Brom Bones.” At a party held at the Van Tassel’s home, Ichabod, who’s prone to superstition, listens in on the townspeople’s’ stories of haunted places – and apparitions, that make Sleep Hollow they’re stomping ground. The story of the Headless Horseman, whose head was said to have been removed by cannonball during an American Revolutionary battle, gives Ichabod chills. As the party ebbs, Ichabod decides to ask Katrina for her hand in marriage. He leaves dejected and makes his way home, the Headless Horseman following him (cue eerie music now). Ichabod flees for his life from the Horseman, crossing a bridge just in time – according to legend the Horseman can’t go over it. Ichabod’s tale ends with the Horseman hurling his head at him. Ichabod is never seen again. The reader is left to decide whether the tale is true or if Bones played the part of the Headless Horseman to scare away the ill-fated Ichabod.

Cookies for the Headless Horseman

Now, this short retelling may have you feeling sorry for Ichabod. Yet that doesn’t seem to be Irving’s intent at all. Despite the modern versions, where Ichabod appears more dashing than befuddling thanks to Fox TV’s Sleepy Hollow

and Johnny Depp’s turn in the Tim Burton-directed movie of the same name,

listen to how Irving describes him:
He was tall and exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, and feet that might have served for shovels. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weathercock perched upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield.
One of my favorite passages relays how Ichabod wants to marry Katrina so that someday his table will be brimming with food as he’s seen in the homes of the wealthy:
He could not help rolling his large eyes round him on the ample charms of a genuine Dutch country tea table in the sumptuous time of autumn. Such heaped-up platters of cakes and crullers of various kinds, known only to experienced Dutch housewives! And then there were apple pies and peach pies and pumpkin pies, besides slices of ham and smoked beef; and, moreover, delectable dishes of preserved plums, and peaches, and pears, and quinces, not to mention broiled shad and roasted chickens; together with bowls of milk and cream, with the motherly teapot sending up its clouds of vapor from the midst. Ichabod chuckled with the possibility that he might one day be lord of all this scene of almost unimaginable luxury and splendor.

There are several versions of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow that you can read with your kids to celebrate Halloween. My daughter and I found an A to Z Mysteries book Sleep Hollow Sleepover that will gently introduce them to the tale.

Kids can read the Legend of Sleepy Hollow - and then make cookies for Ichabod Crane

Later, you might want to read an abridged or the complete story right from Irving. For younger kids, watch the 1949 (yes 1949!) Disney adaptation, The Adventures of Ichabod And Mr. Toad.

I retold the story of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow to my kids as we made these Halloween cookies that would certainly satisfy Ichabod’s desire for rich, indulgent food (although Mr. Headless certainly would have a tough time gulping these down). We unwrapped a pile of chocolate Halloween candy and then chopped them to put into the chocolate cookie mix.

Halloween Candy Cookies

While you mix and bake your cookies, I highly recommend listening to the Bing Crosby song about the Headless Horseman, which was also included in the Disney film.

Happy Halloween!


Ichabod Crane’s Halloween Candy Cookies

Halloween Candy Cookies

Yield: 18 cookies – feel free to double!
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
2 cups flour (I used ½ cup whole wheat and 1 ½ cups all-purpose)
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 ½ tsps. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups chopped chocolate Halloween candy

Mixing up Halloween candy cookies

1.     Cream the butter and the sugars together using a hand-held mixer.
2.     Add in the egg and the egg yolk along with the vanilla – blend again.
3.     In another bowl mix together the dry ingredients.
4.     Mix the dry ingredients into the creamed ingredients.
5.     Chop the chocolate Halloween candy into pieces and then add to the cookie batter.
6.     Refrigerate the cookie batter for 1-2 hours.
7.     Preheat the oven to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
8.     Lightly coat a baking pan with cooking spray.
9.     Make balls with the batter to place 2” apart on the cookie sheet.
10.  Bake the cookies for around 9 minutes or until just browned.
11.  Cool on the pan.

12.   Enjoy!


What do with all this Halloween candy? Halloween candy cookies!!




Kristen J. Gough is the Global Cuisines & Kids Editor for Wandering
. She shares her family's adventurous food experiences--and
recipes--at MyKidsEatSquid.com.


All photos courtesy and copyright Kristen J. Gough,