I have been waiting a whole year to break out my Halloween cookie cutters. Last November I was at Home Goods (Shout out to all my fellow Home Goods addicts!), and stumbled upon a cute set of Halloween cutters for $2!!
I don’t usually brag about finding a good deal, but $2!!! You can’t buy anything for two dollars. Okay, that’s most definitely not true, but excitement is still warrented!!
Any who! Since then, I have been (im)patiently waiting to use these cutters, and now that it’s finally October, my time has come!
Last time we chatted about cut out sugar cookies, I mentioned that they’re not my favorite to make. They take a lot of effort and time, and lately the lazy baker inside of me has been shining bright like a oven light.
But with these super cute Halloween cutters in tow, I couldn’t resist getting a little festive and making some Halloween Cut Out Sugar Cookies!
My set came with a pumpkin, ghost, moon and cat. You can see I got a little more into decorating some than others, but that’s the beauty of cut out sugar cookies you can be as creative (or not!) as you want.
No matter what cutters I’m using, I always follow a few basic steps to make sure all the work is worth it.
1. Let the dough chill. If you want your cut out sugar cookies to keep their cut out shape, this step is not optional. Wait at least an hour. I usually mix the dough the night before, and then bake and decorate the next morning.
2. Roll out your cookies thick. In my humble opinion, sugar cookies shouldn’t snap when you bite into them. And if they do, they were rolled out too thin, over baked or possibly both. I aim for about 1/4″ thick, so the cookies stay soft and melt-in-your-mouth buttery.
3. Decorate the cookies from lightest to darkest color. Rather than mixing each color in a separate bowl and guessing how much of each color you’ll need, I start with white and then decorate all the cookies that get white. I then dye the entire bowl of icing the next lightest color I’ll need, decorate everything that gets that color and so on until I get to the darkest color needed.
Here’s how it worked out for these Halloween Cut Out Sugar Cookies.
I filled the ghost cookies with white icing. Then I dyed the white a light yellow for the moons. Next, I added a drop of red to the yellow to make orange for the pumpkins. I then reserved a little bit of the orange, only a tablespoon or two, for adding details later.
I dyed the orange brown by adding just a little black to the icing for the pumpkin stems. Then I added a whole lot of black to fill in the cats and add the ghosts’ faces. Once the pumpkins were dry, I went back and added some detailing using the reserved orange icing.
All that being said, everyone has their own process for decorating sugar cookies, and you’ll find your own way. I like this way because it’s less messy, cuts back on waste and I don’t have to clean my piping bag out before every color change.
And my fellow lay-ZEE bakers can attest that the less we have to clean a piping bag the better.
If you’ve got any killer tips for baking or decorating cut out sugar cookies let me know below in comments!
Happy Halloween! But most importantly…
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temp
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- 2 ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp corn syrup
- 1/4 cup room temperature water
- food coloring
- Make sure you have enough time before you start. If you’re starting this recipe at 7PM, and you need these cookies to be baked, decorated and ready for travel by the morning, it’s not going to happen. These cookies are worth the wait but make sure you have time to for it. Okay, end rant.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
- Mix in egg and vanilla one at a time.
- Add in dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The dough should be tacky but not wet. If it’s a little too wet, add a tablespoon or two more flour and mix on low until right.
- Wrap dough in cling wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with non-stick mats or parchment. Allow dough to thaw so it's pliable enough to roll out.
- Dust work area generously with flour and roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick.
- Cut out cookies using your favorite Halloween cookies cutters and place cookies on prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 9-12 minutes. The cookies are ready when the tops are no longer wet and the bottom edges are lightly colored. Allow to cool on the pan for about 3 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, mix together all four ingredients. The icing should be thick enough that when you drizzle the icing back into the bowl it sits on top of the icing for several seconds before melting back in. If it’s took thick, add a bit more water. Too runny, add some powdered sugar.
- Decorate how ever your heart desires.** Using a piping bag fitted with a small tip, create a border of icing around the edge of the cookie. Fill in the rest, by piping in a spiral shape towards the center of the cookie. Use a tiny spatula to smooth out the icing or fill in any gaps.
- Allow to dry for at least 12 hours before diving in.
**Get tips on decorating by reading the blog post and watching the video above.