This super simple all butter shortbread cookie recipe combines with chocolate and sprinkles to make an easy treat! Halloween shortbread cookies can be cut into many shapes, and are perfect for parties!
If you’re looking for a Halloween treat that won’t take forever or require Cake Boss-level decorating skills, these cute little Halloween shortbreads are the answer. The shortbread recipe uses only 4 ingredients, which makes these little cookies an simple melt-in-your-mouth sensation.
This is also a no-spread and no-chill cut-out cookie recipe, so while I did little rectangles, you could potentially use this all butter shortbread recipe as the basis for pumpkins, bats, witches or more!
What do I need to make Halloween Shortbread Cookies?
Butter – The star of the show! This recipe uses only butter — no lard, no shortening, no margarine. That’s what gives these that strong, buttery melt-in-your-mouthness. For this recipe, I recommend unsalted butter. If you use salted butter, you can cut out the added salt in the recipe.
NOTE: You can substitute margarine for the butter in a 1:1 ratio. I’ve tested this, and the cookies come out just fine. There is a compromise on flavor, but honestly, my family thought they tasted good and ate all of them. So if butter’s outside the budget right now, this recipe can still work for you.
Granulated Sugar – Shortbread cookies are not as sweet as their close friend sugar cookies, but they are slightly sweet. Enter granulated sugar. Sugar’s other function in baking is to keep the proteins from running amok and making the cookies hard. Granulated sugar is fantastic at maintaining tenderness in a baked product, which is exactly what we want from our holiday shortbread.
Flour – I have only tested Halloween shortbread with all-purpose flour, so I can’t speak to anything else. This is not a gluten-free recipe, but if you’re looking for one, I can recommend this one from Meaningful Eats.
Chocolate Chips or Almond Bark – Semi-sweet chocolate chips make a fantastic dip for the shortbread cookies. You could also use dark chocolate chips or milk chocolate, depending your taste preferences. Almond bark is also a solid choice. It’s specifically made for dipping, so it melts smoothly, and it comes in both vanilla and chocolate. The obvious downside is that its made of almonds, which is something to watch out for if you’re planning to take these to a party!
Sprinkles – And now for the fun — any excuse to buy cute holiday-themed sprinkles, right? That’s another positive for this recipe: you can make this work for just about any theme or holiday just by changing up the sprinkles. There’s no difficult decorating for these as the sprinkles do all the hard work!
How do I make shortbread?
Start by creaming the butter and sugar in a stand mixer. It’s going to be extremely crumbly, like in the picture above.
Use your hands to smoosh the dough together, then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it a few times. The dough will become smooth and elasticky.
Roll the dough out. For crispier cookies, roll to 1/4″. For softer, more tender shortbread, roll to 1/2″.
Cut into your desired shape (pizza cutters are fantastic if you want to make rectangles!).
Bake at 300° for 20-25 minutes.
Allow the cookies to cool completely before decorating.
Decorating Halloween Shortbread Cookies
Simplicity is key here! Start by melting your chocolate or almond bark.
Dip the cookies into the melted chocolate or bark, then put them on foil to dry.
Finish by sprinkling sprinkles over the top. If you allow the chocolate to dry too much, the sprinkles won’t stick, so you may have to dip and sprinkle in batches.
Tips and Tricks for Perfect Halloween Shortbread Cookies
Tip 1: Melting Chocolate/Almond Bark in the Microwave
You can use the old-fashioned way of melting chocolate if you like, but you can cut your time in more than half if you use your microwave. You want to microwave the chips or bark in 30 second bursts, removing to stir in between.
Tip 2: Dealing with Seized Chocolate
If you take too long to dip your cookies, your chocolate may seize up — become dry and clumpy instead of shiny and smooth. Believe it or not, the way to fix that is to add water. Adding a teaspoon full of boiling water and mixing it in will typically cause the chocolate to thin out and become gorgeous again.
Tip 3: Drying Surfaces
Once you’ve dipped your cookies, make sure to let them dry on a proper surface. If you put them directly onto most plates, they will stick. Add a layer of foil or wax paper, or use a silicone baking sheet to keep your freshly dipped cookies from sticking.
Tip 4: Speeding Up Drying Time
In a hurry? You can speed up the drying time for both chocolate and almond bark by popping the Halloween shortbread cookies into the refrigerator for 15 or so minutes. The cool air will cause the chocolate to dry faster, which means you can eat them faster. And that’s a win for everyone!
Can you freeze shortbread cookies?
Yes! I recommend freezing them before you add the chocolate dip. Chocolate doesn’t always freeze well — it can bloom, or get a white residue on it. It’s still okay to eat, but it’s significantly less cute that way.
The shortbread cookies themselves freeze very well. In an airtight container or freezer bag, the baked, undecorated cookies will keep for up to 3 months. When you want to use them, just put them on the counter and allow them to come to room temperature before decorating.
More Cute Halloween Treats
Halloween Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- cold water optional
- 2 cups chocolate chips or ½ brick almond bark
- Preheat oven to 300°.
- Cream butter and sugar.1 cup butter, ½ cup granulated sugar
- Add flour. Dough should be crumbly, but not overly dry. Add water by the teaspoon full until it reaches the desired consistency.2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, cold water
- Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead until dough becomes smooth.
- Roll dough out to 1/2", then cut into cookies.
- Bake cookies at 300° for 20-25 minutes.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate or bark in 30 second bursts until smooth.2 cups chocolate chips
- Dip cooled cookies into the chocolate or bark, then top with sprinkles.sprinkles
- Allow chocolate or bark to fully harden before serving.