Disney Recipe – Jack Skellington Sugar Cookies

These are really easy and cute cookies to make for your kids (big and small!) around Halloween time!   These are just simple sugar cookies… but turning them into little Jack Skellingtons  (from the Nightmare Before Christmas movie) really makes them fun for the holiday.   This recipe is based off of a recipe printed in the Delicious Disney Holidays cookbook, although I made some changes.   The book states that these cookies can be found seasonally at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom.

Here are the ingredients…

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First, combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Whisking the mixture brings all the ingredients together. 

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Beat the softened butter and sugar until smooth.  Then beat in eggs and vanilla.  After this, add the flour slowly and mix together.   

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Then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.

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Preheat oven to 400. 

On a floured surface, roll the dough out to a 1/4 inch thickness.  Using a cookie cutter (I used an overturned glass), cut dough into circles.   Place cookies at least 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

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Bake 8-10 minutes.  Cool completely.

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For the icing, mix 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar with enough milk to create a glaze.  Vanilla extract can be added, but it will make the icing a bit tan, instead of pure white.   Any other clear extract would work fine for a bit of flavor. 

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Spread the glaze on the cookies and let this set. 

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Using a black frosting tube, decorate each cookie like a Jack Skellington face (or as close as you can get!).

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Aren’t they cute?  They are tasty too…   the cookie has a cake-y texture and isn’t too sweet.  The frosting added the right amount of sweetness.   Boo!   Happy Halloween!

Jack Skellington Sugar Cookies
Yields 18
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 tsp baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 3/4 cup butter, softened
  5. 1 cup sugar
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Icing
  1. 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  2. Milk
  3. Vanilla extract, optional
  4. Black cookie decorating icing in a tube
Instructions
  1. First, combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Whisking the mixture brings all the ingredients together.
  2. Beat the softened butter and sugar until smooth.
  3. Then beat in eggs and vanilla.
  4. After this, add the flour slowly and mix together.
  5. Then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 400.
  7. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to a 1/4 inch thickness.
  8. Using a cookie cutter (or an overturned glass), cut dough into circles.
  9. Place cookies at least 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  10. Bake 8-10 minutes.
  11. Cool completely.
For the icing
  1. Mix 2 cups of confectioner's sugar with enough milk to create a glaze. Vanilla extract can be added for flavor.
  2. Spread the glaze on the cookies and let this set.
  3. Using a black frosting tube, decorate each cookie like a Jack Skellington face.
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The Liberty Tree Tavern is a wonderful restaurant in the Liberty Square “land” of the Magic Kingdom.  I really like the colonial atmosphere and I have always had a good meal there.  The Liberty Tree Tavern serves a la carte lunch options and a “family style” turkey meal at dinner.  I love the options at lunch and I enjoyed the New England Pot Roast entree a few years back. 

Here is the menu description of the pot roast:
New England Pot Roast… Our Tavern Keeper’s Favorite – Braised beef in a Cabernet wine and mushroom sauce served with mashed potatoes and garden vegetables – $18.99

Sounds like a good choice for dinner, right?  There are a few different recipes for the Liberty Tree Pot Roast floating around on the web and in the Disney cookbooks… and I chose to follow the New England Pot Roast recipe in the Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs because I only had about 2 1/2 pounds of meat (some recipes called for 6 pounds).  I did tweak the recipe a bit, but I will explain that as I go. 

Here is a picture of all the ingredients needed:

 
First of all, I heated 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in my pot.  Then I seared the meat on all sides.  I used about 2 1/2 pounds of chuck roast.  The recipe calls for 3 pounds boneless beef shoulder roast.
 
Then I took the meat out of the pot and set it aside.  I added 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter to the pan and let it melt.   Make sure you keep all of those brown bits in the pot… it gives the sauce great flavor.
 
 
Next, I added 2 cups large diced carrots, 2 cups large diced celery and 2 cups large diced onions.
 
 
Then I added 1/4 cup chopped garlic.  Normally I would recommend chopping it fresh, but someone had brought this jarred garlic over to my house the other day, so I used it. 
 
 
Now, this is one place where I ventured away from the printed recipe.  The entree description mentions a mushroom sauce and there are no mushrooms to be found in this recipe (although they are in some of the other versions of this recipe).  Since I had mushrooms on hand, I added them.  Just one package of sliced white mushrooms.  I actually wish I had added more because they were very good in the sauce.
 
 
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme went in next.
 
 
Saute until the veggies are tender and then stir in one cup of flour. 
 
 
Cook the flour a bit so that your dish doesn’t taste like paste.  Add 1 cup wine (the entree description mentions a Cabernet sauce, so I used a Cabernet).  Don’t worry about the funny purple color the dish has… it comes out fine 🙂
 
 
 
Stir in 6 cups of beef broth.
 
 
At this point you can add the beef back into the pot and cover it.
 
 
 
I didn’t want to deal with hoisting it in and out the small oven at my In-Laws’ cottage, so I cooked the pot roast on the stove top (low flame).  If you want to put in the oven, the recipe calls for 350 degrees. 
 
The recipe says to cook the roast for 45-60 minutes, which is crazy-talk!  There is no way pot roast can get tender in 45 minutes.  I cooked mine for almost 3 hours and it could have gone longer. 
 
Here is the finished pot roast…
 
 
 
I sliced the meat and served it on top of mashed potatoes.
 
 
 
The verdict?  It was really good and my husband approved.  The meat was tender and the gravy was full of flavor.  The recipe made an enormous amount of gravy (even if I had doubled the amount of meat), but don’t throw it away after eating the pot roast.  I saved the gravy and used it to make a shepherd’s pie the next night.  I browned up some ground turkey (you can use beef if you like), then I mixed in the pot roast gravy and vegetables.  I put it in a casserole dish, covered it with some mashed sweet potatoes and some cheddar cheese.  I popped it in the over to brown the potatoes a bit and melt the cheese.  It was yummy way to use the leftovers. 
 
The pot roast was a success.. the recipe was easy and the results were close to what the Liberty Tree Tavern served.  It is just too bad that I wasn’t able to go for a ride on the Haunted Mansion after this meal!
 
Is the Liberty Tree Tavern New England Pot Roast a go-to of yours or do you choose a different menu item when visiting the restaurant?   I like several items on the menu so I will be cooking some of the other Liberty Tree Tavern dishes for this blog in the future.   What’s your favorite?
 
Liberty Tree Tavern New England Pot Roast
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  2. 2 1/2 Pounds Chuck Roast (or boneless beef shoulder roast)
  3. 1/2 Cup Butter
  4. 2 Cups Carrots, large-diced
  5. 2 Cups Celery, large-diced
  6. 2 Cups Onion, large-diced
  7. 1/4 Cup Garlic, chopped
  8. 2 Cups White Mushrooms, sliced
  9. 2 Tbs. Fresh Thyme, chopped
  10. 1 Cup Flour
  11. 1 Cup Cabernet Wine
  12. 6 Cups Beef Broth
Instructions
  1. In a large, oven-safe pot, heat oil and then sear the beef on all sides. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in the pot and add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, mushrooms, and thyme. Cook until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add one cup flour and cook for one minute.
  4. Add the wine and beef broth. Stir.
  5. Cook on a stovetop on low heat for at least 3 hours. If you prefer putting it in the oven, cook it at 350 degrees until tender.
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Crystal Palace Lemon Bars (Sort of)…

My attempt to make the lemon bars from the Crystal Palace was quite the adventure.  While dining at the restaurant for lunch and dinner, you may be lucky enough to find their delicious lemon bars on the buffet… 

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I love a good, tart lemon bar, so I was excited when I found that someone on the internet had been given the recipe from their server at the Crystal Palace.   However, I looked at the recipe with skepticism, because it sounded a bit off… but if it was from the actual recipe from the restaurant it had to be right, right?   Well, part of this blog is to show my failures at cooking Disney recipes and this was one big failure.   The bars’ crust seemed ok, but the filling was weird.  It called for a ton of butter, which just melted down in the oven.  It was a big, liquidy-oily mess and never transformed into yummy lemon bars.

Oh no….

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But now I had a hankering for lemon bars, so I found a promising recipe by Barefoot Contessa, which I will demonstrate here. 

Here are the ingredients.

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First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixer,  cream together the butter and sugar until light.  Then, with the mixer on low, add the flour and salt until just combined. 

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Scoop the dough out onto a floured board and (with floured hands) press it into a 9x13x2 inch baking sheet.  Then chill for 15 minutes.  Since I was baking in a glass dish, and I worry about putting a chilled dish into a preheated oven, I chilled the dough ball for 15 minutes first, and then pressed the dough into the dish and put it into the oven. 

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Bake the crust for 15 – 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Let cool.

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 In the meantime, make the filling.   Wait until the crust is already cooled to start the filling because if you mix the lemon and the eggs too early, the mixture could start to curdle. 

Whisk together the eggs and sugar…  

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Then add the lemon zest…

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Then the lemon juice…

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… and the flour.

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Pour the lemon mixture over the cooled crust and bake for 30-35 minutes, until set. 

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Let cool and then dust with confectioners’ sugar.

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Then you can enjoy your delicious sweet and sour treat… yum!

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These are even better once chilled for a bit, since they set up and the filling gets a bit more firm.

This recipe states that it is 12 servings, but I think 24 is more realistic… they are very good, but very rich.   The smaller serving is just enough. 

This lemon bar recipe didn’t exactly recreate the bars at the Crystal Palace (the shortbread crust was similar, but the filling was a bit softer and had a stronger lemon flavor), but it is a good recipe when you have a craving for a lemon bar. 

Do you like lemon desserts or do you prefer chocolate desserts?

 

Crystal Palace Lemon Bars (Sort of)
Serves 24
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For the crust
  1. 1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  3. 2 cups flour
  4. 1/8 tsp kosher salt
For the filling
  1. 6 large eggs, room temperature
  2. 3 cups granulated sugar
  3. 2 tbs grated lemon zest (about 6 lemons)
  4. 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  5. 1 cup flour
  6. Confectioners' sugar
Instructions
  1. First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light. Then, with the mixer on low, add the flour and salt until just combined.
  2. Scoop the dough out onto a floured board and (with floured hands) press it into a 9x13x2 inch baking sheet. Then chill for 15 minutes. Since I was baking in a glass dish, and I worry about putting a chilled dish into a preheated oven, I chilled the dough ball for 15 minutes first, and then pressed the dough into the dish and put it into the oven.
  3. Bake the crust for 15 - 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool.
  4. In the meantime, make the filling.
  5. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour. Pour over the cooled crust and bake for 30-35 minutes, until set. Let cool and then dust with confectioners' sugar.
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The PB & J Shake from the 50’s Prime Time Cafe in the Hollywood Studios is a super-simple Disney recipe… and delicious too!  Did you know that you can order anything from the 50’s Prime Time Cafe menu from the bar at the Tune In Lounge next door?  It is a great option if you don’t have a reservation for 50’s Prime Time or if you are in the Hollywood Studios by yourself and you don’t want to sit at a table alone.

I was recently in the Hollywood Studios with my baby girl and it was so hot I knew that only a cold treat would hit the spot.  I decided to order one of the famous PB&J milkshakes from the bar at the Tune In Lounge.  I got it in a to-go cup and it was very rich and yummy.  It wasn’t too peanut-buttery… it almost had a chocolate taste although there is no chocolate in it.

 

 

Last night I decided to recreate this shake at home and it was really easy.  It only requires four ingredients.  Milk (I used skim), Vanilla Ice Cream (I used light ice cream), Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly.

 

 
First, take 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter and 3 Tablespoons grape jelly.  Mix them together.

 

 
Then load up your blender with 3 cups of vanilla ice cream and 1/4 cup of milk.
 

 
Next, top it with your peanut butter and jelly mixture.
 
 
 
Then blend away….  and enjoy!!
 
 
Yum!
 
This shake tasted just like I the original shake at Walt Disney World.  The recipe made a generous amount for two adults (after taking that picture I split it into two glasses, and added a little bit that was left in the blender).  I am sure that Disney uses whole milk and full fat ice cream in their shake, but this lighter version with skim milk and light ice cream tasted just as rich and satisfying. 
 
Oh, and I don’t know if any 50’s Prime Time Cafe fans will notice, but take a look at the kitchen counter in the photos.  When I made this I was staying in my In-Laws’ 1950’s lake cottage and my counter tops were the exact same pattern as the tables in the 50’s Prime Time Cafe!  Their tables are grey and my counters are yellow, but it is fun for a Disney fan like myself.
 
PB & J Shake
Just like the shake at the 50's Prime Time Cafe (and Tune In Lounge)
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  2. 3 Tbs. Grape Jelly
  3. 3 Cups Vanilla Ice Cream
  4. 1/4 Cup Milk
Instructions
  1. Mix Peanut Butter and Jelly.
  2. Place Ice Cream, Milk and Peanut Butter Mixture in a blender.
  3. Blend and enjoy!
Dining with the Mouse http://www.diningwiththemouse.com/
 

 
Let me know what you think about the shake!   Will you make this at home?  Is this Disney treat one of your favorites?

 

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One of my all-time favorite Disney foods is the Crystal Palace Puffed French Toast.  This Disney recipe really brings back memories and makes me feel like I am in the Magic Kingdom!  On my childhood trips to Walt Disney World, my family would always stop by the Crystal Palace to eat a delicious breakfast.  Back then (yes, I’m dating myself!), it was a cafeteria-style restaurant with no Characters present.   I just remember the beautiful setting, the birds flying inside the restaurant AND the super  delicious Puffed French Toast. 

The Puffed French Toast can still be found at the Crystal Palace (now a fun buffet with Winnie the Pooh and Friends), but it has now been miniturized and placed at the children’s buffet station.  But I’m not shy and have no problem eating from the kid’s table!  The french toast is still super crispy (deep fried!) and doughy and sweet with cinnamon sugar.  So wonderfully decadant! 

Here is a picture of the actual Crystal Palace Puffed French Toast in Walt Disney World.

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Here is a picture of the ingredients I used…

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Yes, that is an episode of Friends on my tv in the background. I can’t resist a good Friends repeat! 

First, I cut the bread into thick slices.  Texas Toast would be best, but my grocery store didn’t have any (or even any bakery white bread that I could cut into think slices), so I bought a loaf of Italian bread.  I knew I was using it for french toast, so I bought it from the day-old bread section since I was going to want it a bit stale anyway.  Stale bread soaks in the custard much better and won’t fall apart like fresh bread in the egg mixture.  I didn’t cut the crusts off, but it might be a good idea if your bread has a tough, crispy crust.

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In a large bowl, I mixed together 2 eggs, 2 1/2 Tbs sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
 
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Then I added 2 cups milk.  Next, I gradually whisked in 1 cup of flour and 2 1/2 tsp baking powder.  Mix until it is smooth.

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In a shallow dish, combine 4 tsp cinnamon with 3/4 cup sugar and set aside.
 
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Place a few slices of bread in the custard and let it sit a few minutes to soak up some creamy goodness.  Meanwhile, heat up about 1 inch of vegetable oil in a pan (I used my cast iron skillet).
 
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When you think that your oil is hot enough, take your soaked bread pieces (let any excess batter drip off) and carefully place them in the hot oil.  I used tongs to make sure didn’t splatter any oil and they made it easy to carefully flip them over.  Only cook a few pieces at a time… if you crowd the pan the oil will drop in temperature.
 
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CrystalPalacePuffedFrenchToast
 
 
When they are golden brown on both sides, place them on a plate covered in paper towels (which will soak up some of the excess oil).
 
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While they are still warm, coat them in the cinnamon sugar topping.  Really press them into the sugar and get a nice coating… this is the good stuff!  Get the sides too.  I did this with my hands, but since they are pretty warm you may want to use forks or spoons to coat them.
 
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CrystalPalacePuffedFrenchToast
 
And that’s pretty much it!  If you are feeding a crowd and want to serve all the pieces at once you may want to keep the french toast warm in a low oven while you continue cooking.  
 
Here is the final result!
 
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CrystalPalacePuffedFrenchToast
 
Let’s just go crazy and add butter and maple syrup.

CrystalPalacePuffedFrenchToast

This certainly doesn’t need syrup, but I love the thick, super-sweet magic that happens when that cinnamon coating mixes with the maple syrup.  I guess it brings back those childhood Disney memories.  My husband prefers it without butter and syrup and says it tastes like a yummy churro.

I hope you make this Disney recipe soon… and let me know what you think!

Crystal Palace Puffed French Toast
Serves 6
A delicious replica of the Puffed French Toast found at Walt Disney World's Crystal Palace restaurant
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Ingredients
  1. 12 Slices of Thick White Bread (like Texas Toast)
  2. 2 Eggs
  3. 2 1/2 Tbs. Sugar
  4. 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  5. 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
  6. 2 Cups Milk
  7. 1 Cup Flour
  8. 2 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  9. 4 Tsp. Cinnamon
  10. 3/4 Cup Sugar
  11. Vegetable Oil
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, mix together the eggs, 2 1/2 Tbs. sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and milk.
  2. Gradually mix the flour and baking powder into the wet ingredients. Stir until combined.
  3. In a shallow, wide dish, combine the cinnamon and 3/4 cups sugar. Set aside.
  4. Soak a few slices of bread in the custard mixture as you heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil in a pan.
  5. When the oil is hot, carefully place a few slices of soaked bread into the pan (replace the bread with additional slices to soak in the custard). Be careful not to crowd the pan, as the oil temperature will drop. When the bottom of the toasts are golden (take a peek, using some tongs), flip the pieces over to continue cooking.
  6. When the toast pieces are golden, place on a plate covered in paper towels to blot some excess oil.
  7. While still warm, dip the french toast into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Make sure to really coat every bit of the french toast.
  8. Serve warm with butter and maple syrup, if desired.
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