I love to bake, so trying new and cool cookie recipes comes second nature to me. Some people (or so I’ve heard) don’t love it quite as much as I do. Take my sister in law for example – if she needs cookies, she buys them at the grocery store. If she wants to pass off those cookies as her own, she buys them at a bakery. I gifted her with a big bag of flour one year during a visit, and she said its still sitting there 2 years later.
We’re all different, and because of that I realize sometimes, if you’re not into baking a lot, you just need one recipe that will work for you and go the distance. Something that you can make once and throw it in the freezer for an event, holiday, or just a rainy Saturday afternoon.
You might have your own special recipe that you use for different things, but for me my go-to recipe is classic sugar cookies. I make a huge batch at least once a month, divide it into 3s, and put two dough balls in the freezer. When I know I need cookies, I pull the dough out the night before and let it defrost on the counter. Come morning, I’m ready to bake.
I’ve made Christmas trees for Christmas, butterflies for spring, and hearts for Valentine’s Day with this recipe. It’s easy to put together, and it rolls out like a dream.
With Halloween right around the corner and Christmas soon after that, there is literally no better time to get on the cookie-train and set yourself up for the next month or two. Here’s a look at what you’ll need to make oh-so-scary Halloween sugar cookies:
- A good quality rolling pin – Because these aren’t drop cookies, you’ll have to roll them out each time you bake up something new. The Wilton 20” Rolling Pin with Guide Rings is perfect for anything you need to roll out.
- Non-stick cookie sheet – This is a must, because you don’t want your just-baked cookies to stick. My favourite is the Wilton 13x17x1/4 Cookie Sheet. It’s holds just over a dozen cookies so you can bake up a bunch in no time.
- A roll of parchment paper – Although the non-stick cookie pan will take care of any sticky cookies, you’ll need parchment paper to roll out your dough so it doesn’t stick to your counter.
Now that you’re all set up, here is my favourite sugar cookie recipe:
Grandma’s Sugar Cookies
Makes 120 cookies
Adapted from: My Grandma
I grew up in Saskatchewan, and one of the things that kept us happy during those long winter months in the house were these cookies. It’s a family recipe that’s been passed down for a few generations, and although I’ve tried others, I always come back to this recipe.
3 cups butter, softened
4 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 cups flour
1 ¾ tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
With a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
Beat in eggs and vanilla.
With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Separate the dough into evenly sized chunks, shape into a ball, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Place all dough you don’t plan on using in the freezer.
Keep one ball of dough out and place in fridge for an hour, or if you have extra time, overnight.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spread out your parchment paper. Take your dough ball and give it a good 5 minutes of kneading to ensure it’s ready to roll.
Roll out dough on your parchment paper until it’s around ½ to ¼ inch thick. The thinner you roll the dough, the thinner your cookies.
Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. For the cutest Halloween shapes, take a look at the Wilton Halloween Cookie Cutters.
Place cookies on the baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes. Cool on wire racks when finished.
Sugar Cookie Tips
- If you find your dough is sticking to the parchment paper when you’re rolling out your cookies, dust it with sugar instead of flour to prevent tearing your cookies.
- Be sure to really watch these cookies as they bake and remove them just as the edges are turning brown.
Halloween cookie decorating ideas
Now that you’ve baked up some delicious sugar cookies, you can have a blast decorating them.
There are so many different ideas for decorating Halloween cookies. All you need is a good icing recipe and some inspiration. Although you can use a traditional buttercream icing and spread it on, you can get really creative with a royal icing that dries shiny and gives your cookies that wow factor.
Check out this great sugar cookie icing recipe:
Sugar Cookie Icing
Decorates 1 dozen cookies
1 cup icing sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Different types of food colouring like those you can find in the Wilton Icing Colour Kit
In a small bowl, stir together icing sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity.
We like to dip our cookies in the icing, so be sure to use a wide bowl. It’s also fun to layout different bowls of icing and use brushes to decorate.
With this sugar cookie recipe, you’ll be inspired to create cute little pumpkins, scary ghosts, or spooky bats. Not only do they taste delicious, but if you’re hosting a Halloween party, they’ll look great on the buffet table.
Tune in to Shelly’s Friday Favourites next week when we’ll talk healthy Halloween treats. They really do exist, trust me.