Skeleton Gingerbread Cookies – Here the classic, Christmasy, gingerbread men cookie cutters are repurposed to create a fun Halloween cookie. A soft, richly molasses flavored, highly spiced cookie is decorated with a sweet vanilla icing for the perfect fall treat.
Halloween Gingerbread Cookies
After just one bite I have the feeling these will become a new Halloween tradition for you. Not only are they such a cute treat but they are an intensely delicious treat too (every time I make them I think I eat half the batch myself!).
They have an abundance of warm ginger (which can be toned down for little kids and cut in half if preferred), and the deeply flavored, thick molasses keeps them soft for days. And that crisp bright icing is the perfect contrast and finish.
Forget trick-or-treat candy this is the new highlight of the season. And if you do have kids at home let them help decorate they’ll have a blast!
Special Equipment Needed
You’ll need the kitchen standards here such as an electric mixer, rolling pin, cookie sheets, parchment paper, a kitchen scale or measuring cups. Then also:
- Black edible food marker: I tested two different brands and preferred the Wilton edible markers.
- A piping bag for the icing.
- Small plain round tip such as #3 or #4 size.
- Gingerbread cookie cutter.
Gingerbread Cookies Recipe Ingredients
Scroll below for full recipe with ingredient amounts.
- All-purpose flour (I use unbleached but bleached is fine too)
- Spices: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
- Leaveners: Baking powder and baking soda
- Brown sugar: I’ve used light and dark successfully in this recipe)
- Unsalted butter: Salted butter can be used just omit salt from the recipe
- Egg yolk
- Vanilla extract
- Unsulphured molasses: Don’t use blackstrap molasses
- Meringue powder: This is a mixture mainly of dried powdered egg whites. It helps the icing fluff up and stiffen better. You may likely find it cheaper locally at a kitchen food supply store.
- Powdered sugar
- Edible black food marker
How to Make Skeleton Gingerbread Halloween Cookies
Here is a summary of the steps to make them:
- Whisk dry ingredients, set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar in an electric stand mixer.
- Mix in egg yolk and vanilla, then mix in molasses and milk.
- Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix to blend.
- Divid into two portions, roll each out into a 1/4-inch thick oblong shape between sheets of parchment.
- Freeze portions 15 minutes while preheating oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut cookies out into gingerbread shapes and transfer to parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake until puffed and nearly set, about 8 minutes.
- Cool completely then ice.
- Let icing harden and decorate with faces using edible food marker.
- If possible use a kitchen scale to measure ingredients for the most accuracy. If not be sure to measure flour using scoop and level method as noted.
- Don’t skip the chilling step in the freezer. This is essential to keep the cookies from spreading too much.
- Let icing harden completely or you won’t be able to draw the faces on. Otherwise it will just crack and run.
How to Store Cookies
- Store cookies in an airtight container.
- Gingerbread cookies keep will at room temperature for up to 5 days.
- Or freeze up to 3 months.
- Dough can be frozen for up to 3 months as well (wrapped airtight tight to prevent freezer burn).
More Tasty Fall Treats
- Chocolate Dipped Spiderweb Halloween Cookies
- Easy Caramel Apples
- Iced Pumpkin Cookies
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pumpkin Cupcakes
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Skeleton Gingerbread Cookies
- 3 cups (425g) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger*
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup (150g) dark brown sugar or light brown sugar
- 10 Tbsp (141g) unsalted butter, softened about halfway
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (172g) unsulphured molasses (not backstrap)
- 1 Tbsp milk
- For the cookies: In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together brown sugar and butter until combined. Scrape down bowl.
- Mix in egg yolk and vanilla. Scrape down bowl, then mix in molasses and milk.
- Add flour mixture and mix until combined.
- Divide dough into two equal portions and shape into a smooth round.
- Roll each portion out between two sheets of parchment paper (so you'll need 4 total sheets) into an oblong shape that's 1/4-inch thick.
- Transfer dough to freezer (on a cookie sheet or cutting board so it stays flat), and freeze until firm about 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Working with one rolled dough at a time, cut dough into gingerbread men shapes using a gingerbread cookie cutter and transfer to baking sheet, spacing 1 1/2-inches apart. and bake in preheated oven 8 minutes or until puffed and nearly set.
- Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining dough, while bringing together and re-rolling and freezing scraps.
- For the icing: Add powdered sugar, meringue powder, water and vanilla to a medium mixing bowl. Blend with a hand mixer until well blended and slightly glossy, while adding an additional 1/2 Tbsp water to thin as needed.
- Let icing set until completely hardened, about 2 hours then gently draw skeleton faces on cookies.
- *These cookies have a strong ginger flavor. If you are making them for kids I'd recommend cutting the ginger down to 1.5 tsp.
- Store cookies in an airtight container up to 4 days, refrigerate up to 2 weeks, or freeze up to 3 months.