Halloween Spice Cookies

pumpkin face cookies
Photo: Bryan Gardner
Prep Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
6 hrs 50 mins

Warming cinnamon and ginger flavor these fall treats, while molasses adds a deliciously chewy texture. Use colorful royal icing to decorate the cookies to look like festive jack-o'-lanterns.


  • 4 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons baking soda

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

  • 3 sticks (¾ pound) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 ¾ cups sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • ½ cup molasses

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Royal Icing, for decorating

  • Orange, yellow, and green gel food coloring, for decorating


  1. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and ginger into a large bowl; set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add molasses and vanilla; beat to combine, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a flat disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm but still pliable, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk of dough to a 1/4-inch-thick round. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart. Repeat with remaining disk. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cookies are beginning to crack on the surface and firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.

  4. Divide icing evenly among three bowls and tint each with a different food coloring, starting with just a drop, mixing well, and adding more, drop by drop, to reach desired shade. Transfer to piping bags fitted with very small round tips (such as Ateco #1.) Pipe a thin line of icing around outer edge of each cookie. Pipe eyes, noses, and mouths in center of each cookie to create faces. Let stand 15 minutes. Pipe a generous amount of icing into empty spaces around eyes, noses, and mouths. Use a toothpick or a small food-safe paintbrush to push icing around and fill nooks and crannies. Gently tap cookies on a flat surface a few times to even out icing and remove air bubbles. Let stand until completely set, at least 4 hours.

  5. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap, and slice each log into 3/8-inch-thick rounds. Place rounds on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies crack slightly on the surface, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

  6. When completely cool, decorate with royal icing mixed with desired food coloring.

Related Articles