Ghost Sugar Cookies
Recipe courtesy of Amy Stevenson for Food Network Kitchen

Ghost Sugar Cookies

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 5 hr 30 min (includes chilling and drying time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: About 2 1/2 dozen
These Halloween-themed cookies are super easy to make with a simple sugar cookie base and coating of royal icing. Let little ones help decorate with jelly beans for the eyes and licorice lace for the mouth. We’ve added pumpkin pie spice to go with the season, but you can make this simple sugar cookie for any holiday or time of year– just omit the pumpkin pie spice and use the cookie cutter of your choice. These friendly ghosts are sure to make all your little goblins smile. Though this dough is easy to work with, if you are new to cookie making, you can roll the dough between floured sheets of parchment to prevent sticking.



Royal Icing and Decorating:


Special equipment:
a 3.5-inch ghost-shape cookie cutter
  1. For the cookies: Stir together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Combine the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined, about 1 minute.
  2. Starting on low speed, mix in the flour mixture in 3 additions; scrape down the sides of the bowl in between. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a disk. Refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours, up to overnight.
  3. Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Cut the dough in half. Dust your work surface and the dough liberally with flour and roll one piece of dough about 1/4 inch thick. Cut as many ghosts as you can with a 3.5-inch ghost-shape cookie cutter and transfer to the baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough. Gather the scraps from both pieces of dough, then flatten, rewrap and refrigerate.
  4. Meanwhile, bake the ghosts, switching and rotating positions of the baking sheets halfway through, until golden on the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Repeat with the refrigerated dough scraps to get about 30 cookies in total.
  6. For the royal icing: Combine the egg whites and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high until foamy, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon water. Beat on low speed until combined. Increase speed to high and beat until the icing is thick and glossy but still pourable (like very thick paint), about 3 minutes, adding more water as needed to reach the right consistency. Transfer to another medium bowl.
  7. For decorating: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and place a wire rack on each.
  8. Dip 1 cookie, face down, into the icing and let the excess drip back into the bowl, to evenly coat the top. Place icing-side up on the prepared wire rack. Add 2 jelly bean halves for the eyes and 1 licorice strip, curved up, for a smiling mouth. Repeat with the remaining cookies and candy. Let sit until the icing hardens completely, at least 1 hour.