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Jack-O-Lantern Cookies

This post and recipe was created for #HalloweenTreatsWeek. I was sent samples by some of the sponsor companies but as always opinions are 100% mine.

Just like carving pumpkins, you can decorate jack-o-lantern cookies any way you want! These are a lot tastier, and take a lot less work.

Three jack-o-lantern cookies on a black tray

I hope these spooky sweets and treats are getting you into the Halloween mood!

Part of what I love about October is the fall activities—pumpkin-picking, hayrides, parties with costumes, etc. I love carving pumpkins. It's a LOT of work, though, so I only carve one each year, so it's really hard to narrow down what kind of face I'm going to carve into that pumpkin.

Piping orange icing onto a jack-o-lantern cookie

And I thought, why not put those other faces onto COOKIE pumpkins? I love decorating cookies almost as much as I love carving pumpkins. And cookies are much tastier to eat afterwards.

As far as cookie-decorating skills go, these are pretty easy. No fancy piping work here, just outlining the cookie with the stiffer orange icing, and drawing faces with your brown icing. Once that sets, you "flood" the cookie with thinned orange icing, and fill in the eyes and mouth with thinned brown icing.

If you want to, you can practice first. Draw a few pumpkins with permanent marker on a sheet of parchment paper. Flip the paper over so the marker is on the bottom side, then trace the outlines with your icing. Once you're satisfied, you can scrape that icing back into the bowl to use on your cookies.

Six jack-o-lantern cookies with orange outlines and brown eyes and mouths

The cookie icing is made with meringue powder (dried egg whites), so the same rules apply to this icing as they do for other meringues: your bowl cannot have even a speck of fat residue on it. Wash it thoroughly with hot soapy water, dry it well, and rub it with a paper towel dampened with vinegar before you start mixing your icing.

If you're trying to pipe your outlines, and you find your hands shaking with the effort to squeeze out the icing, it's too stiff. Thin it with a few drops (yes, drops!) of water. Don't add a whole spoonful, or else you will thin it too much, and it will ooze off of your cookie.

Three jack-o-lantern cookies

A close-up on a jack-o-lantern cookie

Jack-o-Lantern Cookies

Yield: 18 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Just like carving pumpkins, you can decorate jack-0-lantern cookies any way you want! These are a lot tastier, and take a lot less work. 

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 8 oz unsalted butter, cool but not cold
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Adams vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour

For the icing

  • 5 tbsp meringue powder
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp warm water plus more for thinning
  • Gel food coloring in orange, yellow, red, and brown

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  3. Beat in the egg and the extracts.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the butter/sugar/egg mixture. The dough will be very stiff.
  5. Do not chill the dough. Dust a clean, flat work surface with more flour and roll out the dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out your pumpkins, and carefully transfer to the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches of space between cookies.
  6. Bake at 350 for 8 to 9 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
  7. While the cookies are cooling, combine the meringue powder, powdered sugar and 3 tbsp of warm water in a clean medium-to-large mixing bowl. Beat on medium-low speed for 5 to 7 minutes.
  8. Take one quarter of the royal icing, and transfer to a smaller bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Take another quarter of the icing from the first bowl and transfer to a smaller bowl; cover with a damp paper towel.
  9. Tint the larger portion of icing a darker shade of orange by adding four to five drops of orange gel color, 1 drop of red, 1 drop of yellow and 1 drop of brown. Mix until the icing is evenly colored. Fit a piping bag with a #5 plain tip, and fill halfway with the icing. Trace around the edges of each cookie. Squirt any icing back into the bowl. Wrap the piping-tip-end of the bag in a damp paper towel. Add another tablespoonful of water to the icing in the bowl and whisk to incorporate. The icing should be thinner. Cover with a damp paper towel.
  10. Tint the smaller portion of icing brown by adding four drops of brown and 1 drop of red. Mix until the icing is evenly colored. Fit a piping bag with a #3 plain tip, and fill halfway with icing. Draw eyes and a mouth on each cookie. Set cookies aside for 30 minutes for icing outlines to set. Squirt any icing from the piping bag back into the bowl, and wrap the piping-tip-end of the bag in a damp paper towel. Add another tablespoonful of water to the icing in the bowl, and beat to incorporate. The icing should be thinner. Cover with a damp paper towel.
  11. Spoon the thinner orange icing back into the first piping bag, and flood the cookies, using a toothpick to guide the icing to the edges. Spoon the thinner brown icing back into the second piping bag and flood the centers of the eyes and mouth. Let the cookies sit, uncovered at room temperature overnight for the icing to dry.
  12. Store the cookies in an airtight container, unstacked, at room temperature.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 316Saturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 85mgCarbohydrates: 52gSugar: 35gProtein: 3g

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Cookie recipe from Katrina's Kitchen

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Check out more amazing #HalloweenTreatsWeek recipes!

Disclaimer: These posts and recipes are part of the week-long event, #HalloweenTreatsWeek but all opinions are 100% mine! We would like to Thank our amazing sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Adam's Extract, Wilton, Sweets and Treats Shop and Treat Street USA ! These wonderful sponsors provided the prize packs for our giveaways and also sent samples and products to the #HalloweenTreatsWeek bloggers to use in their recipes.

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