These adorable Gingerbread Skeletons are a fantastically easy Halloween craft! The holidays can be crazy, meaning fun activities get pushed to the side. This year, I decided to get my kids into the cookie decorating early with a batch of wonderfully spooky Halloween cookies. The girls had a great time cutting the gingerbread and personalizing the simple icing skeletons.
Gingerbread is a forgiving cookie dough and is very easy to work with. And, with a very simple cookie icing, they’re easy to decorate too! Best of all, kids can add their own creative touches, and transform the sweet gingerbread men into scary Halloween delights.
Notes: This recipe makes a classic gingerbread cookie with crisp edges and chewy interiors. We used pre-made candy eyeballs for our skeletons. Look for them in the baking aisle, or pick up black decorative icing to paint on your own little faces.
Kid-Made Gingerbread Skeletons
Makes: 12 cookies
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 3-4 tablespoons milk
- Candy eyes or black decorative icing
- Pastry bag and small, round tip, or zip-top bag
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk to combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, allspice, and sea salt. In a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy and pale, about 4 minutes. Add sugar and continue beating for 2 minutes more. Stop to scrape down sides as needed. Switch mixer to low, and add eggs one at a time, then fold in dry mixture. Finally, add molasses, mixing just until it’s well incorporated.
- Press dough into a rectangle, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least an hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut out gingerbread men and arrange on baking sheets, leaving 1/2 inch of space between cookies. Continue rolling and cutting dough until you’ve used it all. Bake cookies until edges are golden, about 15-20 minutes.
- Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then set on a wire rack and cool cookies completely. Meanwhile, make the icing by beating milk into the powdered sugar. You’ll want the icing to be fluid enough to easily squeeze out of the pastry bag, while also avoiding drips. Make a few test lines to check consistency, then add a bit more powdered sugar or a drizzle of milk, as needed.
- Spoon icing into a pastry bag fitted with a small, round decorative tip. You can also use a clean zip-top bag with a very, very small cut in the corner (no more than 1/16-inch). Pipe the frosting down the center for the spine, make lines for legs, and then the arms. Add little points for fingers, and circles for elbows and kneecaps. Add 3 lines for the ribcage and then paint on the skull. Finally, add two candy eyes, or wait until the white glaze has dried and add details