2teaspoonscocoa powderDutch processed cocoa powder is best
brown gel food coloringoptional
orange gel food coloring
black gel food coloring
Make The Dough
In a small bowl, combine an egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice extract and ¾ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, mix 2½ cups of flour, ¼ teaspoon baking soda and ¼ teaspoon baking powder. Set aside.
In the food processor, combine 2 sticks (1 cup) of cold straight-from-the-refrigerator butter cut into ½-inch chunks with 1 cup of sugar. Process until combined, about 30 seconds.
Add in the egg mixture and process until combined, about 10 seconds.
Add in the flour mixture and process until all of the flour is combined, about 30 seconds. Don't over-process as it can make the cookies tough or cause them to have air bubbles.
Roll The Dough
Divide the dough in half.
Place one half between two large sheets of parchment paper.
Through the parchment paper, push the dough flat with your hands. Use the rolling pin to roll the dough out to about 1/8" thick.
Move the rolled-out dough onto a cookie sheet or tray, keeping the parchment paper on both sides.
Repeat the process with the other ball of dough then place it on top of the first sheet on the tray.
Refrigerate the dough for 1½ hours, or freeze for 30 minutes.
Cut Out The Pumpkins
Take the first sheet of cookie dough out of the refrigerator.
Peel off the top layer of parchment paper.
Use the pumpkin cookie cutter to cut the shapes in the dough.
Put the cut-out cookie dough back in the refrigerator.
Repeat with the second sheet of cookie dough.
Refrigerate both layers for another 30 minutes or until the dough is stiff.
Bake The Cookies
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Run a thin spatula under the cookie dough to separate it from the bottom layer of parchment paper.
Put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
Lay out the cookies on the parchment-covered cookie sheet about ½ inch apart.
Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, until the bottom of the cookies are slightly brown but the tops are still white.
Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet.
Move the cookies to a wire rack to let them cool completely.
Repeat the baking process with the other sheet of cookie cut outs.
Roll out the left over dough to create another batch of cookies.
Make White Royal Icing
Mix 4 cups icing sugar, 3 Tablespoons meringue powder and ½ cup of WARM water in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment on low speed.
Once the ingredients are combined, increase the mixer speed to medium.
Mix for 5 to 8 minutes until the icing forms soft peaks.
Adjust The Icing Consistency
To do this run a knife through the middle of the icing and count how many seconds it takes to close the gap.
I like to use "15 second" icing for this. But depending on your preference, anything between 10 second and 20 second icing would work.
If it takes longer than that, mix in a few drops of water.
If it closes too fast, beat it a little longer or add in a little more icing sugar.
Make Brown Royal Icing
Move about ½ cup of the white icing into a small bowl.
Mix in 1 to 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder
If you want your icing to be a darker brown (or you don't want to use cocoa powder), add in a little bit of brown gel food coloring.
Cover it with plastic wrap pushed down onto the surface to keep it from drying out
Make Black Royal Icing
Add 1/2 cup of white icing to another small bowl.
Add in black gel food color a little at a time until you get a dark grey color.
Cover with plastic wrap.
Make Orange Royal Icing
Mix orange gel food coloring into the rest of the white icing a little at a time until you get the color you want.
Cover with plastic wrap pushed down onto the surface to keep it from drying out.
Pipe The Stem On The Pumpkin
Put the brown icing in a piping bag with a #1 tip.
Outline and fill in the stem of the pumpkin. Use a toothpick to spread the icing around if there are any little gaps.
Outline and Fill The Pumpkin
Put the orange icing in a piping bag with a #4 or #5 tip.
Outline the pumpkin cookies.
Then draw two or three lines from the bottom to the top of the pumpkin.
Let the icing dry for a couple of hours.
Once the outline is dry, fill a piping bag with orange icing using a #4 or #5 tip.
Flood the middle of each of the pumpkin sections so that the icing touches the edge of the lines but doesn't go over. Use a thick layer of icing to get the puffy pumpkin look.
Fill in any gaps by spreading the icing with a toothpick or a knife.
Leave the cookies out in a single layer to let the icing dry for at least 6 hours.
Add The Black Details
Put a #1 tip on a piping bag and fill it with the black icing.
Add the eyes, nose and mouth to your pumpkins.
Let the icing dry for at least a couple of hours before moving the cookies into air tight containers. Separate each layer of cookies with parchment paper to keep the icing in good shape.
To store icing, cover it with plastic wrap that is directly touching the surface. It can keep like this for a few days. If it has separated when you go to use it, just mix it again to re-combine.
If the icing is a little too stiff after, mix in water a few drops at a time. If it is too thin, stir in a little more icing sugar. Do this in very small batches since it doesn't take much to change the icing consistency.
Use as little food coloring as possible to keep the icing from tasting bitter
The color of the icing will get darker as it dries so keep that in mind when you are mixing colors
How to make homemade orange food coloring
If you don't have pre-made orange food coloring, you can make your own:
In a small bowl mix equal parts of red and yellow gel food coloring.
Add in a little more yellow until the orange is the color you want.
Test the color by spreading a little on a piece of paper with a toothpick
Halloween Decorated Pumpkin Sugar Cookies from https://www.entertainingdiva.com/recipes/decorated-pumpkin-cookies/ on October 13, 2020