I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I look for any occasion to decorate with royal icing.  I’ve been looking forward to making Halloween sugar cookies since I learned how to use royal icing, but my baking schedule has been fairly hectic lately and I didn’t think I would get around to it.  Then a friend asked if she could order some cookies for her Halloween party – the perfect excuse!

Halloween is such a fun and festive time with all its creepy creatures, there are practically limitless possibilities for decorating.  I had tons of ideas but obviously did not have the time to employ them all, so I’ll just have to save some of them for next year.  The spiderwebs are my absolute favorites.  I had been planning on making those all year long, but had only thought of doing them in boring black and white.  Then Bridget’s blog inspired me to add a pop of color and it really took these cookies up a notch.  I love them!

The pumpkins were an obvious choice to brighten up the color palette and also because I happened to have a pumpkin cookie cutter at home.  I was a bit skeptical after cutting out the pumpkin shapes (they just looked like a lumpy circle) but decorating made all the difference.

To be perfectly honest, I had no idea if I would be able to pull off the skull and crossbones cookies, but I was happy with how they turned out.  This is definitely a case where I was really glad I had practiced sketching out the skulls before icing so that I knew exactly how to make them look the way I wanted.  (I have some pretty funny sticky notes on my desk at work now that are probably making my coworkers wonder if I have issues.)

The “Boo!” and “Eek!” cookies were a last minute idea, but I thought they rounded out the cookie groups well.  This is a good example of how a regular cookie cutter can become something more festive with just a little creativity.

Every time I use royal icing, I learn a few more tips about how to do a better job.  This time, my tips are more logistical:

  • I cannot stress enough how much it helps to plan out your cookies in advance by making a sketch, as well as a list of icing colors you will need.
  • Be sure the drawings you have made are feasible for translation into icing.  It’s easy enough to draw something with a pen, but another matter entirely when using a piping bag.  Keep that in mind and don’t get too fancy with your designs unless you have a very fine tip ready (and lots of time!)
  • This time, I made all of my icing colors at once and it made the entire decorating process go much more smoothly because I didn’t have to stop in between and color more icing.
  • I have had questions from several readers who have had issues with tiny bubbles in their royal icing.  This is a common problem with an easy fix.  The bubbles are created by the air that is incorporated into the icing while you stir it for thinning purposes.  After thinning, cover and let the icing sit about 10 minutes before use.  Most of the air bubbles will have risen to the top and can be eliminated with a quick stir of the icing.

For all my previous posts with more tips on sugar cookies and royal icing, see these posts:
Christmas Cookies
Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Valentine’s Cookies
Onesie Cookies
Andrew’s First Birthday Party
Wedding Sugar Cookies
Home, Sweet Home Cookies