One night, back when my friends and I were teenagers, we were doing our hair, 80's style. My friend Annie turned to me and looked at my make up.
"That looks great! You look like a prostitute" she said, not unkindly. "I want to look like that" she said smudging her eyeliner while looking at a picture of Madonna. "Show me!" Susie said grabbing my face and examining it for hints to hussy herself up.
Needless to say, three girls who lived in the suburbs only had a fleeting glimpse of what life as a lady of the night was like. To us, it was more along the lines of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (and trust me, I didn't look like that). But for teenagers with strict parents, we had to get our "thrills" where we could. And that meant putting on makeup, thinking that our lives were much more dangerous than they were, and doing things that we weren't supposed to. Like playing with tarot cards, ouija boards and voodoo dolls.
Voodoo dolls were an idea that were popular at school. They were usually used to gain affection with someone you liked - or used to exact revenge on someone that you didn't. And of course, sometimes the two were related too ;) We would spend evenings watching horror movies, reading tarot cards, making voodoo dolls, making prank phone calls and really sort of hoping for some sort of excitement in our uneventful teenage lives.
We dialed one number at random and it rang a few times.
"Hello" the woman at the other end answered.
"Oh hello! Could I speak to Hagrid Flopbottom?" we said our faces contorting at the sheer effort of keeping the laughter out of our voice.
"Yep, hang on a sec" the voice answered and we could hear her yell out "Haaagrid!"
"Oh my god, hang up!" I said and we quickly slammed the phone down. What were the chances that there was someone with a surname that sounded like Flopbottom?
A minute later, the phone rang and we all froze instantly in position. It turned out that Hagrid Flopbottom had caller I.D., a service that had yet to make it to the greater masses and he had called us back. We let the phone ring and ring, too scared to pick it up so eventually Annie's slightly hard of hearing and short tempered father answered the phone.
"Haggis what bottom?" we heard him say to the caller. "Stop wasting my time you bloody idiots!" he roared. Cracking open the door and creeping down the stairs, we watched him turn the television on and rustle the newspaper. We were safe. And we finally got our little piece of excitement, albeit a very g rated version thereof.
These voodoo cookies reminded me of those fun times and are for my upcoming Halloween party. Suitably slightly creepy, they're made using a gingerbread man mold and you can decorate them with hearts, broken hearts, bandages or whatever takes your fancy. If you are serving them to kids or adults that tend to scoff food without looking, I would of course advise against using actual pins or toothpicks and you can certainly draw these on using writing icing pens. They're really quite easy once you have the pens and the best thing is that the more crooked the writing, the more homespun slash voodoo doll looking they are!
So tell me Dear Reader, did you ever make prank calls as a kid and did you get into trouble a lot? And if you could wish for anything now what would it be? Love, happiness, money or revenge? ;) And were your parents strict?
Voodoo Doll Cookies
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
Makes about 16 cookies (depending on size, the cutters I used were very large)
170g/6ozs butter, softened
280g/10 ozs white caster superfine sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
360g/12ozs all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely ground tea leaves (optional)
You will also need a gingerbread man cutter
Icing pens with various colours and tips-the glitter ones are good for drawing needles
Red fondant and small red cutter for heart
Step 1 - In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour and tea leaves. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight but take it out ahead of time to let it become more rollable).
Step 2 - Preheat oven to 200C/400 F. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/3 inch thick, I prefer these a bit thicker so that they are sturdy. Dipping your cutter in the flour, cut out man shapes. Place cookies 1 inch apart on parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
Step 3 - Now is the fun bit! Decorate your voodoo doll just as you would want to. Make some mummies, some with snakes crawling up their leg, some with just buttons for eyes or stitches.
P.S. The adorable pin cushions are from a reader Mitzi who sells them on Etsy under the name Couture Confections: http://www.etsy.com/shop/coutureconfections