Easy Jack-o-Lanterns

28 Oct

Sometimes I think decorated cookies are so much a part of my kids’ lives that they are no longer impressed and/or interested in them. But every once in a while, they will surprise me. Like the other day when I was at the school volunteering and one of my sixth-grader’s classmates came up to me and said, “Hey, aren’t you Casey’s mom?” I said, “Yes, I am”, to which she replied “Oh, cool! Casey said you’re the best cookie decorator in the WORLD and you’re going to make cookies for the whole sixth grade for Halloween!”  Reaaaaallllly….

Sure enough, after checking with Casey, I find it is true that I have been volunteered to supply cookies to the 6th grade. So I needed a “cool” (6th grade cool) idea that would be easy and fast since I had a whole lot of ’em to do. Very soon afterward, I saw this post by Sweet Sugarbelle. It was an answer to prayer. Ok, maybe not really. But it did save my bacon. Here’s what I made:

I did it a little bit differently than she did, so check out her post, too, and choose which way you want to do it. Her way is a little bit neater, but I think my way is a teensy bit faster, which is what I was aiming for for this project. Here’s how I did it.

First bake a ton of pumpkin cookies. I used the basic pumpkin cutter that comes in a lot of Wilton sets. This one happened to be from the Spooky Shapes set, but it is also in several other sets.

Next, I stenciled on some faces using the Jack-o-Lantern stencil from the Wilton Halloween Stencils. (This method would also be cool on plain circles or squares using some of the other stencil shapes.)

To stencil, I use an offset spatula, and squeeze a little frosting onto it.

I’m using Royal Icing here, which is unusual for me. But Meringue Powder Buttercream would also work.

Then anchor the stencil to the cookie using two fingers, and swipe the frosting-ed spatula over the stencil.

Then carefully lift off the stencil.

Ok, now if you want your stencils to look nice and perfect, you’ll want to wash off the stencil in between each use. But if you’re in a hurry, and it doesn’t really matter how they look, then by all means, continue on without washing.

Like so.

Ha ha… I actually had some friends come over when I was at this point. I just kept praying that they wouldn’t walk into my kitchen. You don’t exactly want anyone to see them when they look like this.

I did some in black and some in yellow, and they looked equally horrible.

It looks like they have milk mustaches. But the good news is, that it doesn’t matter in the least. Yay!

Next, outline in orange. I used a PME 1.5 for outlining. It’s my favorite outliner!

Actually on the bottom three, I forgot to switch my tip, and outlined with a 2. Then I remembered and switched it back to the 1.5 for the rest. Can you see the difference? The 1.5 is just a little more defined. I like it better.

After outlining, you’ll want to wait a bit and let your outline dry. But if you’re doing a ton of them like I was, by the time you get to the last one, your first ones will be ready to fill in.

Fill in with a larger tip. I used a #2, but a #3 would also work. This is a cool trick I learned from Callye–

Fill in every-other section and let it dry for about a half hour. (Or, like the outlining, if you have several dozen to do, by the time you get to the last ones the first ones will be ready.) Doing it this way helps SO MUCH with keeping definition in your design. Best tip EVER. Thanks Sugarbelle!

Then fill in the remaining sections.

Then add a stem.

I usually do green stems on my pumpkins, but I had seen some pumpkins done by Laura at A Dozen Eggs that had brown stems, and I loved it!  So I had to try that this year.

You could add some green vines at this point, but I was in simplify mode, so I left them off. It’s cute either way.

Cute, easy, and you don’t have to have any artistic ability to do these.  You could try this method with all kinds of stencils.  I’m definitely going to keep it in mind for Christmas cookies this year. Give it a try!

28 Responses to “Easy Jack-o-Lanterns”

  1. Samantha Powell October 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Very nice! I really like the difference between the black and yellow. Both are 6th grade “cool” 🙂

  2. cuteeverything October 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    Those turned out perfect! I bet the sixth graders were thrilled!!

  3. Carmen October 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    Thank you Karen, for sharing this neat trick. Throughly enjoyed your post, made me laugh about the milk mustaches. lol

  4. Christie Block October 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    ROFL I’m so glad I’m not the only one who gets surprised to learn what others volunteered me to do! The cookies are darling—way to come through in a pinch! 🙂 I love the textured look by alternating the glaze.

  5. Susie Simser October 28, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    Awesome tips. I love how they actually look 3-D or puffy. 🙂
    Love your blog AND your store. Get husband back to work and I’ll be ordering. 🙂

  6. P October 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    You did a great job and I like the yellow AND black faces on the pumpkins. Your son is going to be very proud when he’s brings these into his class.

  7. SweetSugarBelle October 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    LOL, I always tell people, all roads lead to Rome. There’s a million and one ways to do the same thing! Gotta love being volunteered to be the class cookie maker, LOL! I am hoping it’s a small school =) ♥

  8. Rachel October 28, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    My kids volunteer for me to do cookies, too…but they never look THIS great! Wow, Karen! Thanks for posting the “undress” pictures where they look kind of messy because it shows that I don’t have to be such a perfectionist, either (whew!). I LOVE these!

  9. Colleen Gura October 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    Super cute idea Karen! I can’t wait until I can start baking up goodies again!!!

  10. Linda F. Wilson October 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Fantastic idea!!!!

  11. Mari October 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Karen, gracias por tan buen tutorial, es genial el uso de la plantilla porque ayuda mucho a conseguir unas galletas tan bonitas.
    Un beso

  12. patricia rolon October 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    great job karen

  13. Rose Melton October 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Very Cute.

  14. LilaLoa October 28, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the idea of using the stencil for the face! It’s an idea born of pure genius!!!

  15. Emily October 28, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    So clever! And you’re super fast. 🙂 I may be able to handle a stencil. . . .

  16. Diana October 28, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    gorgeous!! never worked with the stencils before, but I may have to try it out after reading this!

  17. Cat October 28, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    Wow! That IS a GREAT tip to fill in every other section, let it dry, to get more definition. Thanks to everyone who shares these tips!

  18. Diana Viera October 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    Karen ~ I really like the way your pumpkin cookies came out. It was a smart move on your part to use stencil and the black and yellow eyes and mouth look really cute! Thanks for sharing:D ~ Diana V.

  19. Megan October 28, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    Wow, these look amazing. I’ve always bypassed the stencils when browsing the website, because I didn’t know how to use them! Going to check out some more stencils now… 😀

  20. Lola October 28, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

    This seems easy. But is it really that easy or are your hands of an artist that makes it look easy?


  21. Gloria October 29, 2011 at 5:30 am #


  22. Christine October 29, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Love the idea of using the stencil, really simplified it! They turned out great, as usual 😉

  23. The Partiologist October 30, 2011 at 5:38 am #

    Karen, these are fantastic! I love the idea of the stenciling first – and I have those stencils!!! Thanks for the idea!

  24. Jenny October 31, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    You amaze me!

  25. María November 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    It seems to be very easy! It´s a nice idea for pumpkins or whatever. They ar so pretty, I love them! Last weekend I made the Frankestein´s and the Dracula´s cookies. Thankyou for all your ideas! I´m very happy for finding you.

  26. Deborah November 3, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    Love them! What a lucky 6th grade class!

  27. Ali November 3, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    Karen this is so cute!! Stencil in reverse! I love the demention it gives!! 🙂

  28. Bea @ CancunCookies November 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    Hi Karen! I loved the depth that stenciling first gives… and the ones with yellow eyes look so spooky! Love them all!

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