A snap to make, these brightly fashioned cookies are inspired by the festive sugar skulls crafted in Mexico to celebrate the Day of the Dead, a holiday that honors deceased loved ones on November 1 and 2. Rather than piping on intricate details here, we used an array of small candies, like sprinkles and cinnamon hearts.

Martha Stewart Living, October 2015


Credit: Aaron Dyer

Recipe Summary

Makes 15 cookies


Chocolate-Cinnamon Cookies


Instructions Checklist
  • Chocolate-Cinnamon Cookies: Sift flour, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl.

  • Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and beat until combined. Divide dough in half, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/8-inch thickness. With your fingers, make a dent at the narrow end of a 5-to-6-inch-long oval cookie cutter to create a chin shape; cut out cookies in skull shapes. Arrange cutouts 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

  • Bake until set, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on a wire rack.

  • Icing: Stir together sugar and milk until smooth. Transfer to a squeeze bottle or a resealable plastic bag with a corner snipped off.

  • Outline cookie edges with icing, leaving a 1/4-inch border; fill in with more icing.

  • Use larger candies, like cinnamon hearts and licorice diamonds, for eyes and nose, and smaller sweets, like sprinkles and candy-coated sunflower seeds, for mouth.