Slice and Bake Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

These soft, chewy sugar cookies have a pumpkin design baked right inside! They don’t need to be iced or decorated, yet look like something from a bakery. And they’re not just pretty, they taste great too, with hints of almond and vanilla. The perfect treat for the classroom Halloween party!

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As a kid, I loved the Pillsbury Slice and Bake Holiday cookies. You know, the ones with a pumpkin or a heart or a bunny inside? They were cute, they were easy enough to make myself and at the time I thought they tasted awesome. I always snuck a tube in the cart when I saw them at the grocery store. They were great for instant cookie cravings in university too. By then they came in little pucks and you didn’t even have to slice them!

I’ve been looking for an idea for an original Halloween treat for weeks now. I wanted something that would appeal to both kids and grown-ups, and not require too many crazy ingredients. I started thinking about those slice and bake cookies at the grocery store, and wondered how hard it would be to re-create them. The verdict – not hard at all! With a little effort, and a bit more time, you can create cookies that look as impressive as the store-bought variety – and taste way better!

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We’re going to start with a basic sugar cookie dough. This recipe from Our Best Bites is my go-to. The dough is easy to work with, and tastes good without icing, both necessary for a cookie like this. Feel free to use any sugar cookie recipe you like. These cookies are great for kiddos with allergies who can’t have the store-bought version – use a recipe that’s gluten free, dairy free, whatever fits your needs.

You just need the basic cookie ingredients: butter, sugar, an egg, flour, baking powder, salt and extracts. I like a combo of vanilla and almond, but you could use all of one or the other.

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Whisk your dry ingredients together. It’s important that you measure the flour correctly; too much will make the cookies crumbly and dry. Don’t dip your measuring cup into the flour bin – spoon the flour lightly into the cup and level it with the back of a knife.

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Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the egg and extracts.

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Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until the dough comes together into a ball.

Set aside a golf-ball sized lump of dough. This will be the pumpkin’s stem.

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Divide the rest of the dough into two equal portions. You can eyeball the halves, but I like to use my kitchen scale to be precise. Pop one half into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.

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Put the other half of the dough back into the mixer bowl. Now it’s time for some color! You’ll need orange and green food coloring. I like to use gel for really vibrant colors, but liquid works too.

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The easiest way to color the dough is to let the mixer do the work for you. Add a bit of orange color to the dough in the mixer (I needed about 1/8 teaspoon of gel color.) Using the beater blade, mix the dough until it’s a uniform orange. Add more food coloring if necessary to get a color you like.

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Cover the orange dough and pop that into the fridge too.

Add a drop or two of green food color to the remaining lump of dough and knead until it’s evenly tinted.

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Since it’s just a small ball of dough, I knead it by hand rather than having to wash the mixer bowl. It’s kind of like playing with playdough! Throw the green dough into the fridge too.

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Chill the dough for about 30 minutes.

Time to make a pumpkin! Take the orange and green doughs out of the fridge.

Lay a piece of wax paper or a silicone liner out on your work surface. If you have a Roul’Pat or a silicone counter liner, that would be perfect. This one’s on my Christmas list!

Take the orange dough and roll it into a log about 40 cm long.

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Flatten the top of the log slightly to give it a bit of an oval shape.

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Use a wooden skewer to make a dent on the top of the pumpkin for the stem.

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Roll the green dough into a skinny snake the same length as the pumpkin.

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Place the green dough into the dent on top of the pumpkin.

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Gently press the green dough into the pumpkin, and pinch it into a stem shape.

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When you’re happy with the pumpkin log, use the liner to slide it onto a baking sheet.

Cover it with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 45 minutes. You want it to be very firm so it will keep its shape when it’s rolled into the cookie.

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Take the un-tinted dough out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you need it so it will have some time to soften.

Roll it out into a rectangle, as long as your pumpkin log and wide enough to wrap around it (aim for about 40 cm by 15 cm, depending on the size of your pumpkin.)

Place the frozen pumpkin in the middle of the dough rectangle.

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Wrap the dough around the pumpkin log, ensuring that all of the orange is covered. If the ends aren’t quite covered, just rip a bit of the excess dough off the middle and use it to cover the gaps. Roll the log gently to smooth the dough.

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Cover the dough log and chill it for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Remove the dough log from the fridge, and use a sharp knife to cut it into 1 cm sections. If you have any gaps (you can see the little hole beside the stem in the picture) gently press them closed.

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Arrange the cookies about 3 cm apart on baking sheets. If the cookies have been well chilled, they won’t spread too much.

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Bake for 8 -10 minutes for soft cookies, 12 – 14 minutes for crispier cookies. I like them right about 12 minutes, when the edges are firm but not colored (the bottoms will be a bit brown.) Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

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If you want to give the cookies a bit of personality, you can use decorating gel to add some jack-o-lantern faces!

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They make a perfect Halloween treat!

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Slice and Bake Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

  • Servings: 36 cookies
  • Print

Adapted from Our Best Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour, lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Orange and green gel food coloring

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar together on medium speed until fluffy. Add egg and extracts and mix until combined.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl while mixing on low speed. Beat until the dough comes together and no floury bits remain.

Set aside a golf-ball sized lump of dough for the pumpkin’s stem.

Divide the rest of the dough into two equal portions. Cover one portion and place in the fridge. Tint the remaining half of the dough orange, then cover and chill. Tint the small ball of dough green, cover and chill.

Chill the dough for about 30 minutes.

Remove the orange and green doughs from the fridge. Lay a piece of wax paper or a silicone liner out on your work surface.

Take the orange dough and roll it into a log about 40 cm long. Flatten the top of the snake slightly to give it a bit of an oval shape. Use a wooden skewer to make a dent on the top of the pumpkin for the stem. Roll the green dough into a skinny snake the same length as the pumpkin. Place the green dough into the dent on top of the pumpkin. Gently press the green dough into the pumpkin, and pinch it into a stem shape.

Use the liner to slide the log of dough onto a baking sheet.Cover it with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 45 minutes.

Roll the un-tinted dough out into a rectangle, as long as your pumpkin log and wide enough to wrap around it (aim for about 40 cm by 15 cm, depending on the size of your pumpkin.) Place the frozen pumpkin in the middle of the dough rectangle. Wrap the dough around the pumpkin log, ensuring that all of the orange is covered. Roll it gently to smooth the dough. Cover the dough log and chill it for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Remove the dough log from the fridge, and use a sharp knife to cut it into 1 cm sections. Arrange the cookies about 3 cm apart on baking sheets.

Bake for 8 -10 minutes for soft cookies, 12 – 14 minutes for crispier cookies. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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21 thoughts on “Slice and Bake Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

  1. Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh says:

    I have to thank you for this recipe. My daughter has more than a few food allergies which prevent her from enjoying cookies like those that Pillsbury offer. However, she is going to be thrilled that I can make these for her! Thank you for linking up with us at the#WednesdayShowcaseParty

    Like

    • bluenosebaker says:

      You’re welcome! I actually meant to put in the post that you can use your favourite sugar cookie dough – vegan, gluten free, whatever you need! I’ve made them dairy and nut free with all vanilla extract and dairy free margarine. Enjoy!

      Like

  2. Kati says:

    I think these are awesome! I want to make some for every holiday. I actually hate decorating and frosting sugar cookies because they are hard to store once frosted, so these are perfect cause they are still cute enough for an event without the frosting.

    Like

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