These Halloween sugar cookies are super cute and easy to decorate using delicious cream cheese frosting instead of royal icing. They are the best tasting sugar cookies ever because of one simple secret ingredient that my mom taught me to add to the cookie dough.
This is an older post brought up from the archives with updated photos and a printable recipe. Enjoy!
I love to bake cookies but I have to admit that rolled sugar cookies aren’t my favorite to make. I’m impatient so I get annoyed that the dough has to chill before you can roll it out. I’m also not very fast with rolling and cutting so the dough sometimes gets soft and sticky before I manage to fill up a cookie sheet. Inevitably I end up with several misshapen cookies.
So why do I keep making these cookies year after year? Partly because my mom used to make them every year and I like to carry on the tradition. But mostly because they are my all-time favorite holiday cookie. These buttery sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting are so delicious, they even beat out my favorite Christmas cookies!
The sugar cookie recipe is pretty standard with one exception. Most sugar cookies contain only vanilla extract but this one includes both vanilla and almond extract. It seems like a small difference but the almond extract makes these the best sugar cookies I’ve tasted.
I’m not sure of the original recipe source but this is the sugar cookie recipe that my mom used for any holiday that required cookie cutters. The toppings are the only thing that vary from season to season and Halloween was the only time we would frost the cookies with sweetened cream cheese.
Although I did set aside some baking supplies, I did not keep my rolling pin. It’s just too heavy and I didn’t want to pay to ship it to myself in California. So, I made do with a wine bottle. It worked, but I definitely missed my rolling pin!
These are some of the cookies that I managed not to ruin!
Here comes the best part!
And you mustn’t forget the chocolate chip eyes. Raisin eyes actually taste better on these cookies but I had some chocolate chips in the pantry that need to be used up before we leave.
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The only issue with frosting sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting is that you can’t stack them once they are frosted. The best way I’ve found to transport them is on large sheet pans with plastic covers (keep reading for more details on this wonderful invention).
I hope these ghost sugar cookies can become a tradition in your family as well. It’s one of my favorite things about Halloween and I plan on baking these with my own daughter in a few years.
Now I’m going to tell you a bit more about my new favorite way to transport these cookies and other frosted treats that can’t be stacked!
Have you ever seen these cookie sheet covers? I can’t remember where I heard about these, but I have two of them now and they are one of the best kitchen purchases I’ve made in a very long time!
They are inexpensive but durable plastic covers for half sheet pans and they perfectly fit all the different brands that I own.
They turn your half sheet cookie pans into stackable and portable containers for your favorite frosted treats. The covers only stick up about an inch and a half above the rim of the sheet pan, so you can’t use them for super tall decorated cupcakes. But they work perfectly for small frosted cupcakes without tall decorations and delicate cookies that can’t be stacked.
I also use these sheet pan covers for letting dinner rolls and hamburger buns rise. I use them so much that I’m considering getting a couple more. Now that you know my secret for transporting and storing these delicious frosted cookies, here’s the recipe!
Kitchen equipment and special ingredients used for this recipe:
(Some of the following are Amazon Affiliate links.)
- Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cake Roll
- Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
- Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
- Buttermilk Pumpkin Spice Bread
Around the Web:
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Spider Cookies from A Spicy Perspective
- Halloween Chocolate Chip Cookies from My Baking Addiction
- Halloween Meringue Cookies from Leite’s Culinaria
- Chocolate Pumpkin Mummy Cookies from Created by Diane
Halloween Ghost Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 8 ounces softened cream cheese
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- chocolate chips or raisins for ghost eyes
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; set aside.
- In a separate bowl, use a mixer to cream together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla and almond extracts and beat well. Add flour mixture a little at a time, blending well after each addition until it is all incorporated.
- Divide dough in half and wrap each portion in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling (several hours is best).
- When ready to roll and bake cookies, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Remove one package of dough from the refrigerator, divide that in half and roll out one portion at a time. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes and place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet. Dough will soften quickly so work fast and always keep the extra dough in the fridge.
- Bake cookies for about 7 minutes or until just barely starting to color at the bottom. Let cool on wire racks.
- To frost cookies: Blend together softened cream cheese and powdered sugar. Spread on cooled, baked cookies. Use chocolate chips or raisins for the ghost eyes. Orange food coloring can be added to the frosting if you want to make pumpkins instead of ghosts.
- To paint cookies: mix small amounts of evaporated milk with desired food coloring. Paint unbaked cookies with small brushes then bake as usual. The colored evaporated milk doesn't add flavor or sweetness, just color and shine.