Halloween Surprise Sugar Cookies

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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Servings: 12

Create frightfully fun cookies with a sweet surprise inside using our Halloween 3-in-1 Surprise Cookie Cutters.


  • 2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz./390g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) (6 oz./180 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Royal Icing for assembly and decorating
  • Nonpareils or small candies for assembly


Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

Over a small bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, slowly add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, stopping the mixer once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Stop the mixer and add half of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until most of the flour has been absorbed, about 1 minute. Add the remaining flour and continue beating until all of the flour has been absorbed and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, 2 to 3 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide into 2 equal balls. Shape each into a disk and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 3/16 to 1/4 inch (4.5 to 6 mm) thick.

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using the Halloween surprise cookie cutter, cut out a cookie, then press down on the plunger to imprint the detail. If the dough sticks to the cutter, dip the cutter into flour before cutting out more shapes. For every third cookie cut, do not imprint a detail. Instead, turn over the cookie cutter and center the plunger over the cookie. Press down to cut out a hole in the center of the cookie. Using a small offset spatula, transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart.

Bake the cookies until golden brown around the edges, 12 to 14 minutes. If baking more than one sheet at a time, rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and 180 degrees halfway through baking.

Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the racks and let cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

To assemble, place royal icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Place one of the imprinted cookies, detailed side down, on a work surface. Pick up one of the cookies with the center cut out and, using the pastry bag, pipe a line of icing around the edges of the cookie. Adhere to the cookie on the work surface, aligning the cookies’ edges. Place nonpareils or small candies in the recess. Pipe royal icing around the edges of the center cookie and place an imprinted cookie, detailed side up, on top. Align the edges and press to adhere. Repeat the process with the remaining cookies. Decorate as desired. Makes 12 surprise cookies.

Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen

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