They'll help you create scary delicious sweets for your Halloween feast.
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Nordic Ware Skull Pan
Credit: Courtesy of Sur La Table

The spooky season is nearly upon us, and even if you're not a fan of scary movies, indulging in sweet treats is one sure to be one of your favorite Halloween traditions. If you're looking to go the homemade route this year, there are a variety of cake pans and cookie cutters that make it easy to prepare Halloween-themed desserts.

To help ensure your Halloween cakes include all of the lovely details of the pans you use, Penny Stankiewicz, chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, stresses the importance of prep. "There are a couple of ways to do it, but the way I think is easiest is to use melted butter and flour," she says. First, gently melt some butter in the microwave, keeping it at a temperature that's just barely warm and not too hot. Using a pastry brush, brush the butter all over the pan, making sure to get into all the little details and crevices. Next, sprinkle some flour into the pan and roll it around to ensure even coverage throughout; once each section is covered, turn the pan upside down over a trash can and tap it to remove any extra flour. Lastly, Stankiewicz recommends chilling the pan for about 15 minutes to reset the butter and keep it in place. "Cocoa powder works well, too, if the cake is chocolate; it helps avoid any visible flour residue on the baked cake," she says. Without proper prep, parts of your cake can stick to the pan when you're turning it out and you'll lose some of the details.

Waiting for the cake to cool is also key. Stankiewicz recommends cooling the cake inside the pan for at least 15 to 20 minutes, preferably on a rack for air circulation. "If you don't have a rack you can place it on top of a smaller pan that can still support it, but will allow for air flow around the bottom of the pan," she said. "If you try to take it out while it's too warm, the structure won't have set enough, and it can easily break or fall apart."

When working with cookie cutters or stamps, Stankiewicz recommends keeping a small bowl of flour beside you to dip the cutter into (shaking off any excess) between each press into the dough to ensure crisp, defined edges. To help your cookies hold their shape after baking, chill the cookie dough before cutting shapes into it, and then again before baking. "You'll want to use a trusted sugar cookie recipe, preferably one that has little to no baking powder in it to help control spread," Stankiewicz says. "Sablé cookie doughs also work well for this."

Now that you have the tips you need, it's time to get shopping. These cake pans and cookie cutters will help you create terrifyingly delicious treat for Halloween.

Best Halloween Cake Pans and Cookie Cutters

Nordic Ware Haunted Manor Bundt Pan
Credit: Courtesy of Sur La Table

Best Centerpiece

The pièce de résistance to your spooky spread, this haunted manor pan from Nordic Ware is a showstopper. It has a 10-cup capacity (though they recommend only filling the pan three-quarters of the way to avoid overflow) and is oven safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The thick cast aluminum provides an even heat for a consistent bake, and the nonstick finish helps it release easily and ensures that all the fine details are preserved in the final cake. Before each use, Nordic Ware recommends brushing the pan with butter or shortening, then dusting it with flour or cocoa powder to coat.

Shop Now: Nordic Ware Haunted Manor Bundt Pan, $41.50,

Halloween Gravestone Silicone Mold
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Silicone

This versatile mold can be used to make a variety of baked goods or even some Halloween-themed soaps. It's flexible and nonstick, so when it comes to unmolding, all you need to do is pop out whatever you've made with a small push. Use it to make custom candies, ice cubes (for Halloween punch), chocolates, cakes, or cookies this Halloween. The options truly are endless.

Shop Now: FRECI Halloween Gravestone Silicone Mold, $13.99,

Williams Sonoma Halloween Cookie Cutter Storybook Set
Credit: Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Best Cookie Cutter Set

A Williams Sonoma exclusive, this 23-piece set has everything you need for an afternoon of baking and decorating Halloween cookies. It includes eight stamps (with shapes like pumpkin, haunted house, bat, mummy, the word BOO!, ghost, spider web and witch's hat), 10 icing bags, four decorating tips, a plastic coupler (which allows you to change out decorating tips without changing icing bags), and a storage box. The stamps are spring-loaded and leave detailed impressions on each cookie which serve as guides when decorating.

Shop Now: Williams Sonoma Halloween Cookie Cutter Storybook Set, $29.95,

Nordic Ware Skull Pan
Credit: Courtesy of Sur La Table

Best Skull

Whether you're interested in making sugar skulls or skull-shaped cakes, this six-cavity cakelet pan has you covered. It's made of heavy-duty cast aluminum, which helps to ensure the spooky details are baked into your sweet treats. It is oven safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and can be used to make cakes, gelatins, stuffed breads, and more.

Shop Now: Nordic Ware Skull Pan, $40,

Harry Potter Cookie Cutter Set
Credit: Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Most Magical

If your idea of a perfect Halloween is rewatching all of the Harry Potter, look no further than this cookie cutter set. It's another Williams Sonoma exclusive and currently on sale. The 26-piece set comes with eight cookie cutters shaped like Hedwig, the Deathly Hallows symbol, the Hogwarts Express, a broomstick, the Sorting Hat, the Golden Snitch, Harry's glasses, and a lightning bolt. Icing bags, decorating tips, a plastic coupler, and a storage box round out the set.

Shop Now: Williams Sonoma Harry Potter Cookie Cutter Set, $29.95,

Williams Sonoma Halloween Dancing Skeleton Cast Aluminum Cake Pan
Credit: Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Most Creative

Pour your favorite sweet or savory batter into this dancing skeleton pan to create two seven-piece cakes. It's oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and has a 1.75 cup capacity. For best results, Williams Sonoma recommends coating the inside of the pan with a nonstick baking spray and flour, turning the pan upside down and tapping to remove any excess flour. Doing this pan prep will help your cakes release easily and help ensure the detailed patterns come out cleanly.

Shop Now: Williams Sonoma Halloween Dancing Skeleton Cast Aluminum Cake Pan, $29.95,

Large Halloween Cookie Cutter Set
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Stainless Steel Cookie Cutters

Simple but effective, this seven-piece stainless steel cookie cutter set has everything you need to make an array of Halloween-themed cookies. It includes popular shapes like ghost, scared cat, skull, bat, coffin, pumpkin, and witch's hat. Simply punch out the basic shapes from your favorite cookie dough and enjoy them as-is or decorate them further with colorful icing and sprinkles. The stainless steel cutters are durable and dishwasher safe.

Shop Now: Keewah Large Halloween Cookie Cutter Set, $12.99,


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