Halloween Treats: Pumpkin Shaped Sugar Cookies

As part of our Halloween family traditions, I make several batches of these pumpkin shaped sugar cookies and give them away to neighbors and friends. This is my favorite sugar cookie recipe. I know everyone has different ideas of what the perfect sugar cookie should be. Some prefer a crisp, thin, vanilla flavored cookie. Others prefer them thick, cake-like and liberally frosted. My ideal sugar cookies are soft, fairly thin, lightly frosted with a butter frosting and flavorful. This particular cookie become softer once frosted. I like combining all three extracts in the dough. If I have them on hand, I prefer emulsions to extracts because the flavors maintain their intensity even after baking. When I am ready to frost the cookies I put a piece of parchment under the cookie rack to catch the frosting drips so the counter top is not sticky with frosting. Then when the cookies are dry I layer them in a plastic container, separating the layers with the same parchment I used underneath the cookie rack. This recipe came from my mother in law’s recipe box. I have been using it for years, but I do not know the original source.

Sugar Cookies

1 1//4 c. shortening

2 1/4 c. sugar

4 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. lemon extract

5 c. flour, sifted

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and extracts and blend until smooth. Sift dry ingredients and add to wet in 1 cup additions. Chill dough 1 hour. Roll to 1/4 inch thickness and cut. Bake at 400 degrees 7 – 8 minutes until gently firm to the touch. Resist the urge to over bake. They may not seem cooked, but they continue to bake as they cool. Cool on rack. Makes 5 dozen.

Frosting

1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted

2 c. powdered sugar, sifted

A pinch of kosher salt

1/4 c. milk

2 tsp. vanilla

a few drops of desired food coloring (for orange mix 5 drops yellow and 1 drop red)

In a bowl combine butter, sugar, salt, milk and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add food coloring and whisk until color is evenly distributed throughout the frosting. Spread on cooled sugar cookies. Allow cookies to dry completely before storing in an airtight container. This is enough frosting for 5 dozen cookies.

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