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Day of the Dead Cookies

Total Time

Prep: 2 hours + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling


1 dozen

I make these cookies for all occasions. In the spring, I cut them in flower shapes and insert a lollipop stick in each to make a bouquet. Using candies, food coloring and a wild imagination, try your hand at this Day of the Dead version. —Kristine Fossmeyer, Huntley, Illinois
Day of the Dead Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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  • 1-1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 ounces almond paste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages (12 ounces each) white candy coating melts
  • Optional decorations: Jumbo sprinkles, peppermint candies, candy-coated sunflower kernels, Skittles, Twizzlers Rainbow Twists and Good & Plenty candies
  • Black paste food coloring


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy; add almond paste. Beat in the egg, milk and vanilla. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut out with a floured 5-in. skull-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake at 375° for 7-9 minutes or until firm. Let stand for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. In a large, shallow microwave-safe dish, melt white candy coating melts according to package directions. Dip top side of each cookie into coating, allowing excess to drip off; place on waxed paper.
  5. Add decorations as desired. Tint remaining white candy coating black; pipe on mouth. Let stand until set.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Unless otherwise specified, Taste of Home recipes are tested with lightly salted butter. Unsalted, or sweet, butter is sometimes used to achieve a buttery flavor, such as in shortbread cookies or buttercream frosting. In these recipes, added salt would detract from the buttery taste desired.
  • Make the most of your leftover Halloween candy by decorating these cookies with your favorite treats.
  • Check out these other cookie recipes that deserve a spot in your recipe box.
  • Nutrition Facts

    1/2 cookie: 364 calories, 19g fat (14g saturated fat), 34mg cholesterol, 164mg sodium, 45g carbohydrate (29g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.

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    • Kay Larch
      Oct 3, 2016

      Cute design, love these! However, Day of the Dead, (celebrated on November 1st to honor the lives of little children who have died young and November 2nd to honor adult loved ones who have died) is a sacred, Christian holiday that has been celebrated in parts of Mexico for several hundred years. It is a sepaeate holiday that has NOTHING TO DO WITH HALLOWEEN. Many people are offended when the traditional decorated sugar skull designs of Dia de los Muertos, along with the sacred days themselves, have been treated as scary Halloween fun. Americans are not at fault, because they simply do not know. So, an effort is being made to spread the word. These cookies would be an AWESOME treat at a "Day of the Dead" celebration!

    • Agassizlady
      Oct 21, 2013

      I love the dough - it is easy to work with. However, the decorating is a bit of a pain, but well worth the try. If it comes out wonky, well, they are for Halloween and they should be a bit wonky.