These candy corn Halloween cookies are one of my most requested recipes because they are ridiculously festive fun treats that are delicious and much easier to make than you might think.
Slice and bake cookies are my favorite, especially using this shortbread recipe. The dough has the texture of play-doh making it easy to work with, color, and shape. It also mixes up in one bowl and has minimal ingredients for a cookie, making clean up easy as well.
I’ve been making this candy corn cookies recipe for 20+ years and the question I always get from candy corn fans and candy corn haters alike is “do they taste like candy corn?”
No they don't! They taste like delicious, buttery shortbread cookies. They only LOOK like candy corn pieces.
These easy Halloween cookies pair perfectly with a cup of apple cider. They also freeze easily - and for up to 3 months - so you can make them whenever you have time. Just thaw at room temperature and serve when you’re ready to entertain or need a quick dessert.
They make a great treat to take to a Halloween party instead of the standard chocolate chip cookies.
- Butter - Go for real, pure dairy butter. No margarine or butter substitutes. These cookies get their flavor from the butter.
- Sugar - White sugar for the recipe, cane sugar or beet sugar both work great.
- Flour - Standard all purpose flour works great.
- Vanilla extract - Go for 100% pure vanilla, not the imitation option.
How to Make Candy Corn Cookies
Make the Dough
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until blended.
Add flour and baking powder to the butter mixture. Stir until incorporated using your mixer on low speed or a wooden spoon.
Assemble the Cookies
Place ½ cup of dough in a small bowl and set aside.
Place ⅓ of the remaining dough into a bowl, add 2-3 drops of orange food coloring or 1 drop of red food coloring and 2 drops of yellow food coloring. Mix the food coloring into the cookie dough until all of the dough is orange. Set aside.
Place the remaining ⅔ of the dough into a bowl, and add 2-3 drops of yellow food coloring. Mix the food coloring into the cookie dough until all of the dough is yellow. Set aside.
Place a large sheet of parchment paper on your counter.
Take half of the yellow dough and press it out into a long, skinny rectangle on the parchment paper. Try to keep this layer even as best you can.
Take half of the orange dough and gently press it out onto the long orange rectangle you just made, keeping it as evenly distributed across the bottom layer as you can.
Take half of the plain, white dough and roll it out into a roll that’s the same length as your orange and yellow stack. Place the white dough on top of the stack of dough.
Using your hands, press the long sides of the dough together and form it into a long triangle shape. When you look at the ends of the stack of dough, you should see the candy corn shape you’re looking for.
Repeat the assembly process with the second half of each color of dough so you have 2 triangular shaped logs of dough.
Wrap each piece of dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (I often leave mine overnight.)
Bake the Cookies
When you’re ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the dough on a cutting board and using a sharp knife, cut into slices aprox ¼ inch thick.
Place dough about 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. These cookies will puff and spread a little bit, but not significantly.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are set, but not brown.
Remove from cookie sheet. Transfer to a cooling rack or wire rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- The cookies will be done baking BEFORE they turn golden brown. They should look dry around the edges and soft in the middle.
- This is more of a shortbread recipe than a sugar cookie recipe. These are more of a crunchy cookie, not chewy cookies.
- There's no need for a loaf pan or any other type of mold. Use your hands to form a long triangle, then chill, slice and bake. That's it!
Looking for a cocktail to go with those cookies?
Can I freeze these Halloween Cookies?
Yes! This makes a large batch of cookies, so I love making these ahead of time and freezing them until I’m ready to share with family and friends.
Follow the recipe as written, cool the baked cookies completely, then freeze in a sturdy container (skip the Ziploc bag) with a sheet of parchment between each layer of cookies.
Take them out to thaw at room temperature at least 2 hours before serving.
FAQs and Substitutions
No. Use only real, dairy butter. If dairy butter isn’t your thing, find a different recipe to make.
Yes. Chilling the dough is critical to being able to easily slice the cookies. It will also keep them from spreading into a mess when you bake them. Do NOT skip or shorten the chill time.
Want More Holiday Baking Recipes?
The cooler weather and holiday season always put me in the mood to bake! Pumpkin baked oatmeal is my favorite make-ahead fall breakfast. And my holiday cookie boxes ALWAYS include my cranberry shortbread cookies. Since both recipes freeze great, I can make them whenever I have time and be ready for a little treat whenever I want one!
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