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Treat Bucket Sugar Cookies

These colorful Halloween sugar cookies are as simple as “trick-or-treat”!

  • Author: The Simple, Sweet Life
  • Prep Time: 8 hours
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 hours 8 minutes
  • Yield: 24 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale

For the sugar cookies:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour

For the royal icing:

  • 1/4 cup meringue powder or powdered egg whites
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • Optional: 1 tsp of an extract of your choice
  • Food gel coloring in orange, green and purple

Additional supplies:

  • Sprinkles
  • Piping bags
  • Small, food-only brush

Instructions

To make the sugar cookies:

  1. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar and continue beating until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and vanilla extract and repeat.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour one cup at a time, mixing between each new addition.
  4. The dough should be firm, easily peels away from the bowl and no longer sticky.
  5. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  6. Once the dough is chilled, knead it on a lightly floured surface until malleable.
  7. Roll the dough out to 1/4″ thick. Cut out with a candy corn shaped cookie cutter.
  8. Bake the dough at 350F for 6-10 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies.
  9. The cookies are done when they’re no longer shiny on top.
  10. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the meringue powder/powdered egg whites and lukewarm water.
  11. Use a whip attachment to whip the mixture on high until frothy. Scrap down the sides as you go to make sure there’s no residual powder.
  12. Sift the powdered sugar and add it to bowl. Continue whipping the icing, this time on medium speed. Stop the machine every 2-3 minutes to spray and scrape down the sides.
  13. If you’re adding additional flavoring to your royal icing, you can add it during one of the stops to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  14. Whip the royal icing until you’ve reached a 20-second consistency.
  15. Divide the icing into three equal portions and a fourth small portion of just a few tablespoons.
  16. Tint the larger portions orange, green and purple, and the small portion black.
  17. Using a food-only brush, paint a thin layer of the black icing onto the cookie.
  18. Load a small amount of each color into piping bags. Clip a small hole in the tip, and pipe the outline for the features of the jack-o-lantern faces.
  19. Load the remaining icing into the bags, and fill in the bottom half of the cookies, leaving inside of the features open for the black icing to show through.
  20. Once the outside of the icing has set (about 30 minutes), go back in with the bags you used to pipe the features to add lines from the top of the jack-o-lanterns to the bottom. Allow the cookies to set overnight, or at least 8 hours.
  21. Take the remaining icing and pipe a line of it at the top of the jack-o-lanterns. This doesn’t have to be perfect.
  22. Dip the icing into the sprinkles.
  23. Use the remaining black icing to pipe a thin black handle.

Notes

  • Working ahead: Sugar cookie dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up 5 days before use. You can also freeze the dough for up to 6 months. To use frozen dough, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • To prevent butter bleed, cool your cookies on a cooling rack rather than the pan, make sure they’re completely cool before working with them (I like to leave them out over night so they cool and dry as much as possible).
  • If your cookies spread during the baking process, use the same cookie cutter to “cut them out” again immediately after removing them from  the oven. When the cookies are hot and soft, you can make a clean cut.
  • Royal icing darkens as it dries: whatever color you want on your cookie, you’ll want to mix it slightly lighter as it will darken as it dries.
  • Some colors are hard to mix: red and black in particular can be difficult colors to mix. The good news is that they will darken as they dry. It also helps to use a highly pigmented gel food coloring like “super black” or “super red” by Americolor.
  • Make more of each icing color than you think you’ll need: because royal icing darkens as it dries, it’s very hard to match a color if you end up not having enough. It’s always a good idea to make more of a color than you think you’ll need.
  • If you end up with any little air bubbles in your icing, you can pop those with your toothpick or quilling tool.
  • Storage: Cookies can be stored in a cool, dark place in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Nutrition

Keywords: halloween sugar cookies, halloween dessert, how to make cookies