How To Make Your Own Día de los Muertos Cookies

Día de los Muertos is just around the corner and we talked to Gail Dosik, confectionery artist extraordinaire and owner of One Tough Cookie NYC to find out the secrets behind her spooktacular cookies! Here she fills us in on how to create some scary beautiful cookies for the special day. Check out the recipe below:


Skull & Crossbone cookie cutter (you can also use a homemade cardboard template)
Cookie dough
Parchment paper
Cookie sheets

Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe or buy a cookie dough roll from the refrigerated section of the supermarket. Roll dough between two pieces of parchment paper to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Place rolled dough in freezer for at least 20 minutes. You can hold it for for up to a month!

Remove the dough from the freezer and peel away the parchment paper. If you’re using a cookie cutter, dip it in flour, shake it off and press into the dough. If using a cardboard template, dip it in flour each time before cutting the shape out so the cardboard doesn’t stick to the dough. Bake the cookies according to the recipe and remember you don't want a soft cookie.


 Basic Royal Icing Ingredients
1 lb. confectioners sugar
3 oz pasteurized egg whites
1 tsp. lemon juice

Decorating Liqui-gel food coloring
Royal Icing in stiff and flood consistencies
2 oz. plastic squeeze bottles
Pastry bags (12 inch)
Decorating tips (Wilton) #2, #1S

In the bowl of a mixer, alternate small amounts of confectioners sugar and egg whites with paddle on lowest speed. For stiff consistency, icing should be opaque and form a soft peak when beater is lifted from bowl. For flood consistency, add enough egg whites so icing is somewhat fluid. When a spoon is drawn through the icing, the channel should close in 5-7 seconds.

Prepare white and black stiff consistencies of royal icing. Then, prepare 3-4 colors of flood consistency royal icing. Keep in mind white is the predominant color, so you want most of the icing to be this color. Add color one or two drops at a time and mix it in thoroughly, a little goes a long way. Pour colors and white into separate squeeze bottles and remember to always keep royal icing in a closed container to keep it from drying out.

Decorating Pointers:

  1. Sketch out your decorating idea on a piece of paper first, because you need to work very quickly or the icing will start to set and crust over.
  2. Begin by fitting a pastry bag with a coupler and a #2 decorating tip. Fill bag 1/3 of the way full with the stiff white royal icing.
  3. Carefully pipe the icing out around the border of the cookie. This will create a "dam" for the other icing you use. If you make a mistake, scrape the cookie off.
  4. If you’re using a Skull and Crossbone cookie, fill in bones first. Squeeze a line of colored flood icing at top of bone, followed by another color. Use 3rd color to drop decorative dots. Then fill with white. Repeat in other 3 bones.
  5. Working quickly again, fill skull with white flood icing from forehead down to the nose area.
  6. Drop in big dots of black where eye sockets should be and smaller dots of black where nose should be. Immediately drag a toothpick from bottom of ‘nose’ through the top, creating two nostrils and dragging a bit of black at the top of the nose. Decoratively drop in remaining colors around the eyes.
  7. Fill remaining part of skull with white.
  8. Drop a line of black for the mouth, then immediately, dot the black with white icing to represent teeth.
  9. Continue decoratively dropping in color around the chin, cheeks, or wherever it suits you! Let dry for at least 8 hours.
  10. To finish the cookies off, fit a new piping bag with a coupler and 1S tip, and fill 1/3 of the way with black stiff icing.
  11. Decide where you want the decorative overpiping and practice a few times on the parchment to get the design you like. Remember, once you pipe black on this cookie, there’s no taking it off!

Let dry completely and serve on a nice platter. ¡Feliz Día de los Muertos!