Transform a batch of pumpkin spice cookies into festive jack-o’-lanterns with colorful icing. First, use a pastry bag with a #2 tip to pipe a thick outline of the jack-o’-lantern’s face around the edge of the cookie. Next, fill in the outline of the face with a thinner consistency of icing. To make royal icing thicker, add confectioners’ sugar; to thin out the icing, add a tablespoon or two of water. This recipe for Halloween jack-o’-lantern cookies was inspired by the delicious cookies available at the Downtown Bakery & Creamery in Healdsburg, California.
HALLOWEEN JACK-O’-LANTERN COOKIES
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
This cookie dough can be prepared in advance and frozen up to three weeks. Thaw the dough before using.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more flour for rolling dough
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup homemade or canned pumpkin puree
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup molasses
- Royal Icing (recipe follows)
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger into a large bowl; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar. Beat on low speed, slowly increasing to medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the pumpkin puree, egg and vanilla; beat on medium speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.
- Turn off mixer. Add molasses, and mix on medium speed until the molasses is just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the dry ingredients in small amounts. Mix on low speed, slowly increasing to medium high until the dry ingredients are just combined, about 1 minute.
- Transfer dough to a clean work surface. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 to 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into pumpkin shapes with cookie cutter. Place cookies on baking sheet and bake until cookies are crisp but not darkened, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once cookies are completely cool, decorate with royal icing.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
- 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 6 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons meringue powder
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar, water and meringue powder on low speed until all ingredients are moistened, scraping sides of the bowl constantly. Beat on medium-high speed for about 7 to 10 minutes or until icing is thick and glossy. Use immediately or cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Note: Icing will soften upon standing. If necessary, beat the icing again with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until it thickens.