Sugar cookies with fun Halloween cutouts, filled with hard candy to make “windows.” A beautiful and spooky Halloween treat!
For sugar cookie dough (see note 1):
- 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. black gel food coloring (optional) (see note 2)
Assorted hard candies (about 18 – 30, depending on size)
Cookie icing (store bought or homemade) (optional)
Make the cookie dough:
- Beat the softened butter and sugar together, using a stand or hand mixer, until smooth (do not overmix).
- Add in the egg, vanilla, and black food coloring (if using). Mix until smooth and evenly incorporated. If using the black food coloring, the mixture should be very black. If not, add a bit more food coloring and mix again.
- With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the dry ingredients and mix until evenly combined. Split the dough into two and wrap each half in plastic wrap, shaping it into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
Shape and bake the cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove half of the dough from the fridge. Very generously sprinkle a work surface with granulated sugar and place the dough on top (see note 3). Sprinkle the top of the dough with sugar and roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness. If the dough is too firm to roll out, let sit for 5 minutes and then try again.
- Use a large round cookie cutter to cut the dough into circles. If needed, use a thin metal spatula or metal dough scraper to gently remove the circles from the work surface. Place the large circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Using a cookie cutter that is small enough to fit inside the larger circle without touching the sides, cut shapes into the center of each circle and remove the dough from inside. (You can bake the center shapes as-is or re-roll it into more circles.)
- Place hard candies of the desired color inside a double layer of zip-top bags. Using a hammer or heavy rolling pin, crush the candies inside the bag (do this on a surface you aren’t worried about getting banged up!).
- Evenly fill each cutout with crushed candy until it reaches the same level as the top of the cookie. Depending on the size of the candy and cutout, you will need about 1 – 3 candies per cookie.
- Repeat with the remaining half of the dough. Bake the cookies for 10 – 11 minutes, or until the candy has fully melted and the edges of the cookies are firm to the touch.
- Leave the cookies on the baking sheet until the candy has solidified, about 10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Decorate the cookies (optional):
- When the cookies are fully cooled, use the cookie icing to pipe designs onto the cookies.
- Allow the icing to harden fully (for at least 4 hours) before storing in an airtight container.
- You can also use store-bought sugar cookie mix. On the package, follow the directions for cutout cookies. If using, add the black food coloring to the wet ingredients.
- I used Super Black Soft Gel Paste from AmeriColor, if using a different brand you may need more or less food coloring.
- The black dye didn’t stain my kitchen table, but I can’t guarantee this for other types of surfaces I haven’t tested myself. If you are concerned about the black dough potentially staining your work surface, roll the dough out onto a cutting board or other surface you don’t mind getting stained (even the back side of a cookie sheet would work).
Keywords: Halloween cookies, Halloween Windowpane Cookies, Windowpane Cookies, Halloween desserts