Decorated Cookies for Halloween

October 26, 2009

I have a couple of Halloween cookie cutters, so I thought I’d make some Halloween-themed decorated cookies. I think it’s fun to decorate cookies, and this was a good warm-up for me before Christmas. Below are a few tips that might help you out on your cookie decorating adventures.


  • I recently found this link on someone’s blog (sorry, but I’m not sure who posted it): http://www.sweetopia.net/2009/06/cookie-decorating-tutorial-general-tips-butterfly-cookies/ It has lots of good information and tips, plus links to even more information!
  • One thing that I came up with on my own that worked out nicely was the technique I used on the cats. I outlined them with royal icing and gave it a little time to dry. Then I used a small paintbrush (new and washed) to brush a little bit of light corn syrup on the cookie. Then I sprinkled black sanding sugar on it and shook off the excess. The corn syrup was a nice “glue” and the sugar stuck only where it was brushed on. The sugared part of the cookie was a little bit chewy, but it didn’t soak all the way in to make the cookie soggy, even after a couple of days. This would also work well to apply sugar to just a small area.
  • I couldn’t find a candy corn cookie cutter, so I asked my husband if he could figure out how to make me one. He thought about it for oh, 30 seconds and then told me to just cut a circle and then cut it into wedges. Perfect!
  • One of the tips I tried that didn’t work so well for me was to outline and fill using the same icing. This probably works fine if you’re an experienced cookie decorator. In the past, I’ve used thicker icing to outline and thinner to fill, and the results were much better for me, so I’ll go back to that next time.
  • I tried something that I thought would be an awesome tip, but instead is a word of caution. My icing was a bit thick, so I used a wet fingertip to smooth it out on some of the cookies. At first, it looked like it worked great, but when the icing dried, it got streaky in spots. It could have been my food coloring (I used powdered), but I would advise not doing this, or if you are going to try it, be sure to do a test first and let it completely dry.

I’m not a fan of sugar cookies, so I use a shortbread cookie recipe as my base for cut out cookies. These cookies are really buttery and go great with the sweet icing.

Jill’s Cut Out Shortbread Cookies

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Mix in the powdered sugar and then the vanilla and salt. Gradually add the flour until combined.

Pat the dough into four disks, cover and refrigerate 2 hours or longer. Remove one disk at a time, place a floured surface, sprinkle a little flour on top, and roll to about 1/4″. Cut with cookie cutters and carefully transfer to a baking sheet (you can optionally line the baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper). If the leftover dough is soft, return it to the refrigerator and take out another disk to work with. When you have one batch ready for baking, return the rest of the dough to the refrigerator.

Bake at 350° until lightly browned around the edges (baking time will depend on the size and thickness of the cookie). Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before icing.


  • To help the cookies retain their shape, before baking, put the sheet of cookies in the freezer for a few minutes.
  • If you are making a variety of sizes, put similar-sized cookies together on the same sheet; small cookies will bake more quickly than large ones.
  • If the dough is sticking a lot, try rolling it inside of a gallon-size plastic bag or between sheets of parchment paper.


  1. I love them!! They’re so cute! The only time I ever think to make cut out cookies is at Christmas. What a great idea to do them at Halloween!

  2. thanks for the comment on my blog. also, great tips on cookie decorating. the candy corn cookie is soooo cute!

  3. I LOVE the look of your cookies…and what wonderful tips. My hand is extremely unsteady, but I may just give these a try! Thanks, Jill and I can’t wait to see what you do during the holidays!

  4. These are so cute! I don’t like sugar cookies either, so the shortbread idea is a good one.

  5. Your cookies look so cute! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Jill! Your cookies came out so cute! You are really quite good at decorating.

  7. Well, we are fans of sugar cookies and shortbread cookies, so these new decorating ideas and tips and techniques I am thinking will work on Christmas cookies as well! You did a great job. I love that little candy corn one as I haven’t seen one like that before, so simple, so cute, so fun!

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