At this point in the game, I’m convinced sugar cookie decorating will never be my forte. Back in January, when I first dreamed up the idea of one sugar cookie per month during 2015, I had the fantasy that with practice, I would become an expert cookie decorator. We are ten months in, and all I can manage is little orange dots on these Halloween cookies. They are still pretty cute, but you should see the test cookies…the final ones only amounted to little frosting dots for a reason. I think I’ve finally learned that I may never grow to love cookie decorating. It always feels like so much pressure and I get so frustrated when the picture I have in my head does not translate from the frosting tip. Ultimately, I just want the cookies to taste good. So, round cookies with buttercream frosting may be my go-to from this day forward. And I’m okay with that.
Regardless of this whole decorating rant, I’m still using a great roll-out cookie recipe. I’ve found this dough doesn’t freeze quite as well as my original sugar cookie dough does – it’s best to make these cookies within a few days of refrigerating the dough. And as you can see, it’s really important to brush the excess flour off the dough, it doesn’t always bake off the cookies in the oven.
For the Cookies:
- 3 cups flour, plus more for counter
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 sticks (16 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Orange Frosting:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp fresh orange juice
6 to 10 drops orange food coloring
Make the cookies: Whisk the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl. Mix in vanilla. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll of the cookie dough on a clean, floured surface. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra flour off the top. Bake on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes, until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffy. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Make the frosting: Combine powdered sugar, orange zest, juice, and food coloring in a small bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Scrape icing into a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Snip a tiny hole in 1 corner of bag with scissors; decorate cookies as desired with icing.