Gingerdead Cookies

Gingerdead Cookies ||

*Looking for more Halloween recipes? Try these Walking Dead cupcakes!

Once a year, it’s socially acceptable to dress like a slutty pumpkin, ingest copious amounts of candy, and pay homage to all that’s macabre/sinister/diabolic. We’ll call these (collectively) the Shameless Halloween Trifecta (S.H.T.). If you exhibit any (or all) S.H.T. behaviors before or beyond the month of October, expect to field a candy corn storm of judgment.


  • If you don your best slutty pumpkin in July, you’re pegged as the street-walker off her psychotropic meds.
  • If you devour a bag full of candy within a 12-hour span in January, your mom/dad/significant other kindly hands you a newspaper clipping with a list of local overeaters anonymous meetings.
  • And if your idea of festive Valentine’s Day cupcakes include Wilton meat cleavers, royal icing pentagrams, and bloody shards of glass candy, you’re labeled a Satan-worshipping sociopath with no hope of ever finding love.

While I don’t seek to invalidate the repercussions of aforementioned S.H.T. behaviors, I’ve decided the best course is to tread lightly (sorry, still detoxing after a 5-season Breaking Bad bender) promote a subtle rebellion against S.H.T. shaming.

Here’s how:

The next time you see a person committing a S.H.T. faux pas outside of October, withhold your judgment. We all entertain enough judgment from others for our clothes, our bodies, our eating behaviors, and our beliefs as it is– don’t add to someone’s pain.

Leave your slutty pumpkin threads at home; opt for an outfit that falls outside of your normal repertoire. Normally a Ralph Lauren poster child? Pull on something that errs on the side of goth chic. Typically wear your hipster heart on your sleeve? Go popped-collar Lacoste and pearls preppy. You’ll get the satisfaction of playing dress-up without the disturbing/disturbed stares in your direction.

Instead of gobbling a CostCo-sized bag of candy in one sitting and ODing on instant gratification, treat yourself to one indulgent thing every day (1 bag/pallet/U-Haul full of candy doesn’t count). A scoop of ice cream, a viewing of ABC’s Nashville, an online shopping purchase– whatever causes your brain’s pleasure center to light up.

And finally, unless you’re hosting a Walking Dead party, leave the overly grotesque desserts unmade. Instead, make these perfectly cutesy-creepy Gingerdead cookies. They’re fitting for Halloween, but appropriate for any occasion, save for a funeral.

Ever since I came across Crumb’s and Corkscrew’s Gingerdead Biscuits, I was dying to make my own variation of the should-be iconic Halloween-meets-Nightmare-Before-Christmas cookie. Ultimately, I decided to utilize the same great cookie cutter (link below) with a soft, chewy gingerbread recipe. In its second iteration, I substituted some of the butter in my recipe with vegetable shortening, which allows for the cookies to remain moist without spreading as much in the oven. I also prefer my royal icing a bit on the thick side (I like that it adds a textural element), so I piped the icing into the shallow grooves of the skeleton pattern instead of using a true flooding method. If you prefer to flood, simply add a couple Tablespoons of water to the icing to thin out the consistency!

Click here to purchase the cookie cutter: Fred and Friends Gingerdead Men Cookie Cutter/Stamps

What are you baking for Halloween?

Gingerdead Cookies

Gingerdead Cookies || Kailley's Kitchen

Gingerdead Cookies || Kailley's Kitchen

Gingerdead Cookies

Yield: 16-18 cookies


    For the gingerbread cookies:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • For the royal icing:
  • 3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Few drops food coloring of choice


  1. In a food processor fitted with steel blade, mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, baking soda, and vanilla extract until combined
  2. Add butter and shortening and mix
  3. With food processor running, add molasses and milk; mix until dough is evenly moistened
  4. Divide dough in half and roll each half out to ¼ inch thickness between two sheets of parchment paper
  5. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight)
  6. Once dough has been chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  7. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper
  8. Remove parchment paper from dough, stamp and cut out cookies using the Gingerdead Man cookie cutter
  9. Place cutouts on prepared baking sheet, leaving 1 inch of space in between cookies
  10. Bake until centers are just set, 9-11 minutes
  11. All cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to completely cool
  12. Gather scraps; repeat rolling, cutting, and baking with remaining dough until used up
  13. While cookies are cooling, add pasteurized egg whites and extracts to a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat until frothy
  14. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, continue to beat on high until icing forms peaks, about 8 minutes
  15. Add a teaspoon of water until desired consistency is reached, then use a piping bag and tip to flood royal icing into the "bone areas"
  16. Allow icing to harden, then store cookies in an airtight container


    • Kailley @ Kailley's Kitchen says

      Thanks so much, Lou! And thank you for inspiring me! A gingerbread house would be SO much fun to make (and eat)! You should make a haunted gingerbread house for Halloween 🙂


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