Sugar Skull Butter Cookies

I really do need to chill with this preoccupation I have with collecting cookie stamps. I can admit that it’s starting to become an obsession. To my own credit though, I will say that I’ve kept it an inexpensive one. Most of the ones that I’m finding, buying and using are inexpensive and the results that they’ve been yielding are so great that I justify it to myself that it was too good of a deal to pass up.

Secondly, I also think that I just may be addicted to the actual process of making them. There’s something I’ve found to be very therapeutic to being alone in the kitchen, rolling out cookie dough, stamping out the design, transferring them to cookie sheets, chilling them, then baking them and seeing how pretty they turn out, all while music or a podcast plays in the background.

Third, whenever I’ve found a new stamp/mold and tested it out with stellar results, I’m always excited to pull out my camera to take pictures and write up a post so that I can show it off to all of you. That’s always lots of fun.

I’ve known I was going to do this post for months, which is when I first bought these cookie cutters/stamps from Amazon. They’d been on my wishlist for a while but they were at a price that I found to be….excessive. Fortunately my patience paid off because eventually it lowered waaaaay down to where they were practically a steal and I ordered them straightaway.

I’ve been baking for Dia de los Muertos for a few years on the blog. Both of those recipes were variations on the Pan de Muerto, which is a traditional bread that’s typically made and eaten for the holiday. Skeletons and elaborately designed sugar skulls are a huge part of the celebrations and overall aesthetic as well. So when I saw these cookie cutters, I knew at once that I would want to make them as both a Halloween and Dia de los Muerto post.

Y’all I’m so happy with these cookies. They came out EXACTLY like I wanted them to, and I have to attribute it to the consistency of the dough. As I’ve mentioned before, when making any stamped cookie, it’s important to work with a dough that isn’t going to spread or puff up so that the intricacy of your design will be preserved. Shortbread is perfect for this, as are most standard butter cookie recipes, like this one.

I really wanted the design of the cookie to be the star here, so I kept the flavor of these simple: two teaspoons of vanilla bean paste did the trick. Although, I could see almond, lemon or orange extracts working well too. The consistency is thick and soft, just how I like my sugar cookies to be.

Let me also say that although I did provide the link for where you guys can buy these cutters for yourself, this cookie recipe will work great for ANY cookie stamp/mold that you have. You also don’t have to use one at all; either just roll out the dough, cut out any shape you want or shape the whole thing into a log then cut off into rounds, and follow the directions for baking as usual. Either way, I guarantee that you’re going to love the cookies. Happy Halloween, Dia de lose Muertos and Fiesta Friday #195 co-hosted this week by Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes and Sandhya @ Indfused!


Sugar Skull Butter Cookies

Recipe Courtesy of Springerle Joy



  • 2 sticks, plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened (250 grams)
  • 150 grams powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 450 grams all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt



In the bowl of a standing mixer (or using a handheld mixer) cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and the vanilla and mix until combined.

Stir together the flour and salt in a small bowl. Add it to the wet ingredients in small increments until thoroughly combined. Scrape dough together into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least for one hour.

Sprinkle a clean surface (like a pastry mat or wax paper) with flour. Divide the dough into quarters, keeping the dough you’re not using in the fridge while you work. Roll out each quarter to about 1/2 inch thickness. Sprinkle the surface the dough lightly with flour. Dip your cookie cutter into flour, then tap out to release excess. Firmly press the cutter into the dough, wiggle it around a little to release the excess, then lightly tap it down on counter to release the cookie.

Place stamped cookie onto a sheet pan you’ve lined with parchment paper. Keep the sheet pan in the fridge while you repeat the above process with the rest of the cookie dough. (Note: You MUST flour and tap out the excess of each mold, EACH time you stamp out a new cookie. If your dough is too soft, place it in the fridge until it hardens back up enough for you to cut it out.)

Allow the cookies to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Take the sheet pan out of the fridge and bake on the middle rack for about 14-15 minutes, until the bottoms of cookies are just turning beginning to turn golden. Allow to sit on sheet pan for about 60 seconds before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

 (Note: no one oven is the same, & different baking sheets bake cookies differently. Keeping this in mind, I will ALWAYS test bake one cookie before baking entire sheets of the whole batch, just to get a good idea of how long they should be in the oven and if I need to adjust the way I’ve cut, rolled them out, etc. I highly recommend that you do the same.)

36 thoughts on “Sugar Skull Butter Cookies

  1. Awesome! I’m curious about Directions. Is it your style or mistake. It’s hard for me to read if they are aligned right :D. Actually, I can’t remember if I ever have read the text that is aligned right :). Cookies look’s so awesome and makes me wanna try!

    1. Hi Ilze, I usually do just align the directions on the right for the blog, but if you click the link for the printable version (it’s just below the title) , it’ll take you to a print out sheet jpeg where it’s all aligned left. Thank you 🙂

  2. These cookies are so cute! It’s hard to believe I am calling skulls cute, but they really are! 🙂 I have been learning more and more about Dia de lose Muertos the past couple of years since my kids are taking Spanish class, and it’s a really interesting and beautiful holiday. I bet the cookies taste as good as they look too!

  3. These cookies are simply picture perfect! The details are so clear. I can totally relate to the obsession with the cookie molds/stamps.
    Happy FF!

  4. OMG! These are so cute, Jess!! I don’t think I’ll eat something as cute as these. 😀 Thanks for sharing and I hope you are having a good time! 🙂

    1. To be honest Jhuls, I didn’t want to eat them either–but they are VERY easy to make and they DO taste so yummy, so…I got over that hesitance quick. Thank you 😉

  5. A little late to the party here, but I just bought these cutter/stamps! Have you decorated these with royal icing?

    1. Hi Senora Richards,

      Sorry for the late response; depending upon on how thickly you roll the cookies (I aim for about 1/2 inch,) there should be about 1 dozen cookies per batch.

  6. So cute! I want to make 100ish of these cookies for my students so we can decorate them for Dia de Los Muertos! How many batches of the recipe will I need? I didn’t see how many each batch makes. Sorry if I missed it! Thank you!

    1. Hi Grace, the yield is going to depend upon how thick you roll the cookies. If you aim for the thickness in the photos, then I would say you could expect to get about a dozen cookies out of the posted recipe. If you roll the dough thinner, you may be able to get a few more, but they will bake faster. Happy Baking 🙂

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