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It’s hard to believe that Halloween is just a few weeks away, and for us, it’s the time of year when we start doing some serious holiday baking! My daughter loves to bake with me – in fact, I think she enjoys the baking ‘process’ more than eating the finished product! Emma will take one bite of a cookie and leaves the rest (she definitely didn’t inherit my sweet tooth!). These Halloween Thumbprint Cookies are a fun treat for any Halloween party – and, with just a little supervision, they are simple enough that your kids can help make them!
We rolled the sweet, buttery sugar cookie dough in Halloween-colored sprinkles, and then flattened it with a ‘thumbprint’ indentation before baking to hold a dollop of colorful icing in the center of each cookie. You can get as creative or as ‘ghoulish’ as you want with the color combinations for these Halloween thumbprint cookies – just mix a very small amount of gel food coloring into the icing to match whatever colored sprinkles you are using!
These Halloween thumbprint cookies are light and somewhat crumbly as you bite into them with a distinctive buttery flavor that reminds me of the classic Spritz cookie. One thing to note when baking these…the cookie dough is very tender and almost a dry texture, so when you are flattening the balls of dough and adding the thumbprint, just be sure to push down very gently so that the side of the ball of dough does not crack. (Although if they do crack, it’s not the end of the world – these Halloween thumbprint cookies will still taste delicious!)
Recipe adapted from Chelsea Bakes via The Brown Eyed Baker who was inspired to develop this cookie dough recipe based on the Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies sold at Giant Eagle grocery stores located in the Pittsburgh area.
For the Cookies
- Halloween-colored sprinkles
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
For the Icing
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 ½ tablespoons milk (more to less to get consistency needed for spreading))
- Gel food coloring (to match the color of your sprinkles)
To Prepare the Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Pour the sprinkles into a small bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla for about 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add salt and mix until just combined. Gradually add the flour (about ½ cup at a time) mixing well after each addition until completely incorporated and the dough stays in a ball when pressed together.
- Using a measuring tablespoon, scoop the dough out into even portions. Using your hands, roll each portion into a round ball and then roll the dough in the sprinkles, pressing down as needed to make the sprinkles coat the cookie dough. Place the balls onto the prepared cookie sheet about 1½ inches apart. Using your thumb, gently press down on the top of each ball and make a small indentation, being careful not to crack the dough. (Do not completely flatten the dough – it will flatten a bit as it bakes.)
- Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and using a melon baller or other small round kitchen tool, gently press on each cookie to make a deeper indentation (but be careful again, not to press too hard and crack the sides). Bake for 7-8 minutes more until the cookies are set.
- Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack before frosting.
To Make the Icing
- In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, corn syrup, vanilla extract, melted butter and 1 tablespoon of milk. Stir to combine and add more milk as needed to get a smooth and spoonable, but not runny, consistency.
- If you want to make different colored icings for your cookies, divide the icing into small bowls – one for each color of icing you desire. Dip a toothpick into the gel food coloring and then stir into your icing, adding more as needed to make the color you want. With a clean toothpick, repeat the process for the other colors.
- Spoon a small amount of icing into the center of each cookie and allow to set completely before serving.
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