Halloween pumpkin cookies recipe

Annie Rigg's Halloween cookies are perfect for little trick-or-treaters

Annie Rigg: "You won't need any fancy pumpkin-shaped cutters for these Halloween cookies, just a good dusting of orange sanding sugar and perhaps some ghoulish candies and jelly treats. If you like, add 1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger or candied peel to the dough to make the gingerbread more sophisticated."

Makes 10-12


  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 200g plain, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 75g light muscovado or light brown soft sugar

For the icing

  • 500g royal icing sugar
  • 75–100ml cold water
  • or
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 2 large egg whites

To decorate

  • Green, black and orange food colouring pastes
  • Orange sanding sugar


  1. Beat together the golden syrup and egg yolk in a small bowl. Sift the flour, baking powder, spices and salt into a food processor (or into a mixing bowl) and add the butter. Use the pulse button to process the mixture (or rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips). When the mixture starts to look like sand and there are no lumps of butter, add the sugar and pulse (or mix with your fingers) again for 30 seconds to incorporate. With the motor running, add the egg-yolk mixture and pulse (or mix with a wooden spoon) until starting to clump together.

  2. Tip the mixture out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead gently to bring together into a smooth ball. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 1–2 hours.

  3. Lightly dust a clean, dry surface with flour and roll the dough evenly to a thickness of 2–3 mm. Use a 9cm round cutter to stamp out as many cookies as possible from the dough, cutting each one as close as possible to the next one. Arrange the cookies on baking sheets lined with non-stick baking parchment. Gather the dough scraps together, knead lightly, re-roll and stamp out more cookies until all the dough has been used up. Bake the gingerbread in batches on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 10–12 minutes or until firm and lightly browned at the edges. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets before icing.

  4. Tip the royal icing sugar/mix into a large mixing bowl and add the water gradually, mixing with a whisk or wooden spoon until the icing is smooth and thick enough that it will hold a ribbon trail when the spoon or whisk is lifted from the bowl. This will be the consistency that you need for piping outlines or details on the cookies. You may need to add slightly more or less water to achieve the right balance.

  5. Spoon 1–2 tablespoons of the icing into a small bowl and tint green using the food colouring paste. Tint another 3 tablespoons of the icing black. Cover and set aside. Tint the remaining icing a deep shade of orange. Spoon 3 tablespoons of it into a disposable piping bag and pipe pumpkin-shaped outlines on each cookie. Use the green icing in the same way to make a stalk outline for each pumpkin. Allow to dry for at least 10 minutes.

  6. Flood the outlines with their corresponding colours. Allow to dry for just 5 minutes before dusting the pumpkin shape with orange sanding sugar. Allow to dry again for a further 15 minutes.

  7. Pipe orange curved lines over each pumpkin. Allow to dry for 10–15 minutes before filling another piping bag with the black icing and piping eyes and spooky mouths onto each jack-o’-lantern. Allow to dry completely before serving.

Gingerbread book

From Decorated Gingerbread by Annie Rigg. Published by Ryland Peters & Small, photography by Tara Fisher

Buy the book now


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