Dia De Los Muertos Cookies

READY IN: 55mins
YIELD: 18 cookies




  • To make the vanilla dough, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together with a whisk or a fork.
  • Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  • On low speed, beat in the flour just until incorporated.
  • Form the dough into a log about 2 inches in diameter.
  • Set aside.
  • To make the chocolate dough, in a medium bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together thoroughly with a whisk or fork.
  • Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with the back of a spoon or an electric mixer until smooth and creamy but not fluffy (less than 1 1/2 minutes with an electric mixer).
  • Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  • On low speed, beat in the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.
  • Form dough into a log the same length as the vanilla log.
  • If the dough is too soft and sticky to handle place it in the freezer to firm.
  • To shape the skulls, reshape each log of dough so that it is skull shaped rather than round: make one side narrow for the chin and jaw and leave the other side wide for the cranium.
  • Wrap and refrigerate the chocolate dough. Form features in the vanilla dough, using the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes for eyes through the entire length of the log.
  • Form the nose with a skewer, poking two holes for nostrils.
  • Form the mouth by inserting a narrow table knife and wiggling it back and forth to lengthen and widen the opening.
  • Don't try for perfection: irregular holes make the best and weirdest skulls. Wrap and refrigerate the vanilla dough.
  • Chill both doughs at least 2 hours, preferable overnight.
  • Position rack in the upper and lower third of the oven.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut the chocolate dough into 1/8-inch slices and place them at least 1 1/2 inches apart on the lined baking sheets.
  • Cut the vanilla dough into 1/8-inch slices and place 1 slice on top of each chocolate slice.
  • Bake until pale golden at the edges, 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking.
  • Slide parchment liners onto cooling racks or transfer the cookies directly from the pan to the rack with a metal pancake turner, waiting 1 to 2 minutes if necessary to let the cookies firm up before moving them.
  • Cook cookies completely before stacking or storing.
  • Cookies keep at least 1 week in an air-tight container.