dessert — kid-approved

Halloween Monster Sugar Cookies

prep time 20 minutes
cook time 10 minutes
yield 18 large or 40 mini cookies


Chewy sugar cookies with that betwitching crackly top that everyone loves get the Halloween treatment in this classic-turned-creepy recipe. A touch of natural food coloring makes these sweets orange, purple, and green; the perfect trifecta of horrific hues. Bring each munchable monster to life with candy eyeballs (the more the better) before serving them on your Halloween treat board or after a long night of trick-or-treating.



  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) Nellie's Free Range Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large Nellie's Free Range Egg
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar (for coating)
  • Purple, orange, and/or green natural or artificial food coloring (see notes)
  • Candy eyeballs (see notes)


  • Preheat oven to 375F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer on medium-high speed, cream together the butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the egg and mix for 30 seconds on medium-high until batter is smooth and fluffy again.
  • Add in flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low speed until just combined, then mix on medium-low for 15-20 seconds.
  • Portion dough equally into individual bowls according to the number of colors you’re using; one for each color. Add the food coloring to each bowl to reach your preferred hue, then mix the coloring in by hand using a spatula or wooden spoon.
  • Place 1 cup of sugar in a small, wide bowl. Scoop dough according to your preferred cookie size: use about 2 tablespoons of dough for large 2" cookies or about 1 tablespoon of dough for 1" mini cookies.
  • Roll dough balls between your hands to fully round if not using an ice cream scoop, then roll in the sugar until fully coated.
  • Place cookies at least 3" apart on prepared sheets. Press a few candy eyes firmly into the surface of each cookie.
  • Bake large cookies for 9-12 minutes and mini cookies for 6-8 minutes, or just until the bottoms have lightly browned and the cookies look fairly set on top. If the tops start to brown, pull them out as browning during the bake can dull the colors.
  • Knock each tray firmly on the counter or stovetop immediately after removing from the oven to help settle the dough and achieve a crackly surface.
  • Let cookies cool (this is the secret to a chewy center and crisp edges), then enjoy!

Nellie’s Notes:

Natural food coloring will yield colors that are a bit more on the earthy side and more muted than those you see pictured.

Some candy eyeballs hold up better in the oven than others. Check the packaging to make sure they're suitable for baking and won't melt.

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