It's almost Halloween!! 2020 Halloween will sure look different to other years. Trick or treating isn't really big in Australia (at least in my town) and I guess won't be happening at all this year. A cookie cake for the whole family to enjoy might be a great alternative. You could even decorate it with your favourite Halloween candy. I picked up some cute Halloween sprinkles from The Sprinkle Co and I knew right away I was going to make a skull cookie cake using them as my colour inspiration.
I used our print at home skull cookie cake template available here to create the 2 skull cutouts. The skull is 11" or 28cm tall. This template gives you the option to cut the shorter at the jaw line and also optional cutouts for the eyes, nose and mouth. For my version I just cut out the eyes. The sprinkles I used for the mouth were in the sprinkle blend I purchased.
Here's the full recipe below.
VANILLA COOKIE RECIPE
Download the printable recipe here.
250 grams butter, softened
120 grams caster (superfine) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ½ cups plain flour, sifted
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs and mix until well combined. Add the sifted flour and baking powder as well as the salt and mix just until the dough comes together. If the dough is still sticky add a little more flour until a nice smooth dough forms.
After the cookie dough is made roll it out on a silicone baking mat or parchment (baking) paper, so you don't have to transfer the large cookie shapes later, to approximately 5mm thick and spread it far enough to cut out the large cookie shapes later. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up the dough to make cutting out easier.
Place your skull cookie cake template carefully on top of the rolled out dough and cut out the shape using your plastic cookie cutter tool or a blunt butter knife. Take your time and keep the blade as upright as you can so that the edge of the cookie is cut straight. After cutting around the outer edge and inner edge (if you want the eye, mouth or nose cutouts for the top layer) carefully lift off the cookie dough away from the cutout shape. Slide the baking mats with the cookies on top onto a cookie sheet or baking tray and put the cookie cutouts back into the fridge to chill while the oven heats up or at least 15 minutes. This will help the cookie to keep its shape when baked.
Heat oven to 160°C (325°F) and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked. Take the cookies out of the oven and leave the cookies on the trays to cool completely. Large cookies can be difficult to move without breaking, especially when they are warm.
Use the leftover cookie dough to cut out any shapes you might like to use for cookie cake toppers or to serve with your cookie cakes. I made some little ghosts. Alternatively you can put the leftover cookie dough into the freezer to use another time.
I coloured some white fondant with pink/purple, and black food colouring, rolled it out and used mini Halloween cookie cutters (my cutters came from Cookie Cutter Shop) to cut out skulls, spiders, ghosts and bats. Allow these to air dry.
You can also cut out your fondant tops of any cookies you cut out earlier. I used our Message Maker Stamp Set and stamped Boo! onto some of the ghost fondant topped cookies. I attach the fondant tops to the cookies using a little water on the back of the fondant.
You can prepare your fondant toppers a few days in advance and once dry store them in an airtight container.
I iced the top layer of cookie with royal icing coloured with gel food colour. I used a pre-mix royal icing (I used Queens brand) from the supermarket that I just added water and food colour to. The icing looked dark grey when I first made it but dried black. I wouldn't have minded if it had stayed grey, it still would have worked. I used a piping bottle with a 2mm opening to pipe the outline of the skull and then I added a little bit more water to make the icing a bit runnier and used the same bottle to flood the rest of the cookie with the icing, using a tooth pick to pop any air bubbles and to smooth the icing over any gaps it didn't cover. When the royal icing wasn't quite dry I added sprinkles to the mouth area of the skull.
Allow this royal icing to set completely before assembling the cookie with the buttercream. Alternatively you could use buttercream for the top skull cookie if you prefer.
Download the recipe here.
250 grams unsalted butter, softened
4 cups icing (powdered) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (vanilla bean paste is the best if you can find it)
3 - 4 tablespoons milk
Pinch of salt
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft and creamy. Leave it beating at medium speed as you gradually add in the sugar, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. This can take 7 – 8 minutes. Once the sugar has been incorporated into the butter add the vanilla and a pinch of salt. Beat in the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the icing is thick, smooth and glossy.
It is ready to pipe onto your cookie cake. You can chill it in the fridge if it needs to thicken up a bit before piping.
ASSEMBLING THE COOKIE CAKE
Pipe the buttercream onto the bottom layer of cookie cake. I used a 13mm fine star icing nozzle.
Put the top layer of cookie on top of the first layer and pipe buttercream just on the crown section of the cake.
I coloured some buttercream pink/purple to match the fondant and piped it into one eye and also a few places along the crown.
Fill the other eye hole up with buttercream and then top with lots of sprinkles.
Add your fondant toppers and sprinkles to the skulls crown. You can then chill it in the fridge for at least half an hour before serving. The chilling just makes it easier to cut through the buttercream without it squishing out the sides.
I LOVE the little details on a cookie cake and this one is no exception. Even my little fondant skull toppers have sprinkle crowns. I had so much fun creating this cookie cake and my girls (4 and 7) were great helpers and taste testers.
I'd love to see your Halloween cookie cake creation. Here's a link to our complete Halloween collection of cookie cake templates.
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