Makinze is currently Food Editor for Delish, where she develops recipes, creates and hosts recipe videos and is our current baking queen.. Reigning from Oklahoma, she's also our go-to for all things regarding Midwestern cuisine. She's also our expert pie crimper.
These sugar cookies are the best and cutest way to celebrate Día de Muertos. A Mexican holiday, the Day of the Dead is an annual celebration for loved ones who have passed on. These festive cookies, like our other Day of the Dead inspired party food, are a perfect way to celebrate the holiday. In this recipe, our classic sugar cookie holds its shape ideally for creating the skull shapes, and our royal icing makes decorating a (delicious) breeze.
How should I decorate them?
We feel that Day of the Dead cookies are like snowflakes: not a single one is the same as the next. We merely view our cookies as a guideline for you! Use your favorite colors and decorate each skull to your own desire. Have different festive cookie cutters? Feel free to cut out and design your cookies however best speaks to you!
Should I use salted or unsalted butter?
As always, we recommend baking your cookies with unsalted butter, but if you want to use salted butter instead simply omit the added salt in the recipe.
Can I make these ahead of time?
Absolutely! The sugar cookie dough can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator. You can also bake the cookies off ahead of time and freeze them until ready to decorate. In the freezer, these cookies will keep for up to 3 months.
Have you made these yet? Let us know how it went in the comments below!
- Prep Time:
- 20 mins
- Total Time:
- 3 hrs
For the cookies:
- 3 c.
all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- 1 tsp.
- 1/2 tsp.
- 1 c.
(2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 c.
- 1 tbsp.
- 1 tsp.
pure vanilla extract
For the icing:
- 5 c.
- 6 tbsp.
milk, plus more for thinning
- 1/4 c.
light corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp.
pure vanilla extract
Black food coloring
Teal food coloring
Orange food coloring
Green food coloring
Purple food coloring
Yellow food coloring
- Step 1In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
- Step 2In another large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale in color. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and beat until combined, then add flour mixture gradually until totally combined.
- Step 3Shape into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour.
- Step 4When ready to roll, preheat oven to 350º and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll out dough until 1/8” thick. Using a skull cookie cutter, cut out shapes and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Freeze 10 minutes (so your shapes hold while baking!).
- Step 5Bake cookies until edges are lightly golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Step 6Meanwhile make icing: In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla. Add about a quarter of the icing to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Outline edges of cookies.
- Step 7Pour about half of remaining icing into another medium bowl and thin with 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until a good flooding consistency. Add to another piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe icing into centers of cookies to fill completely with icing.
- Step 8Divide remaining icing into 6 separate bowls and dye them black, teal, orange, green, purple, and yellow.
- Step 9Place colors into separate piping bags fitted with a small round tip and pipe decorative faces onto cookies.