Chocolate skeleton cookies are perfect for Halloween! These gluten free and dairy free cookies are so easy to make and a fun cookie for kids to make.
These easy to make gluten free chocolate skeleton cookies are so fun! Easy to make and roll out, they have a rich chocolate flavor with a hidden spicy kick! Half of the batch can be spiced with cinnamon and cayenne pepper so you don’t know if you’re getting a trick or a treat!
Free from: wheat, gluten, dairy (optional), casein (optional), fish, shellfish, soy, sesame, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, corn, celery, and more
These cookies are great because they only require a few ingredients to get put together! Along with some baking staples, you will need:
Cinnamon and/or Cayenne Pepper - That is what gives these cookies a sneaky trick or treat! After mixing the dough, divide it in half and add either or both of these spices to half of the dough. After baking, decorate the cookies the same and mix them up on the plate.
Of course, you don’t have to do that and can make all the cookies chocolate only. Or make them all spicy!
Cream Cheese - This really helps in gluten free baking by adding more fat and flavor. If you are dairy free, see below for another option.
Cream of Tartar - This is a secret ingredient that is especially helpful in rolled cookie recipes. The cream of tartar helps to prevent the cookies from spreading in the oven while they bake. This way they hold their shape better!
Like I said, these cookies are easy to mix up and are so cute to make!
In your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine the butter, cream cheese, and both sugars. Mix this suuuuuper well until it is light and creamy, about 5 minutes of mixing!
Next, add the egg and vanilla extract. If the butter and egg are not the same temperature, it is possible that the mix will curdle. Don’t panic! This will sort itself out when you add the flour. Just know that these cookies may not rise as much if this happens. No big deal and you know for next time. 🙂
Next, in a small bowl, sift together the gluten free flour, cornstarch (or tapioca/arrowroot), cocoa, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt.
Now add this flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until it all comes together. Don’t be afraid to let this take a few minutes on low speed since you don’t have to worry about gluten developing!
After it comes together, divide the dough in half and add cinnamon/cayenne pepper if using.
Now, roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper, and roll to get a cookie about ¼ inch thick. If you find the dough sticking, use a little powdered sugar to help things roll out smoothly.
Place the cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet and pop them into the fridge to chill while you preheat the oven to 350F.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until the cookie edge slightly pulls away from the paper.
Remove from the oven and let them cool completely before frosting!
To make these dairy free, simply swap the butter and cream cheese for your favorite plant-based butter and cream cheeses! My personal favorites are the Soy free Earth Balance for butter and Trader Joe’s dairy-free cream cheese.
If you are avoiding corn, make sure that your powdered sugar does not contain any corn. My favorite is Wholesome Ingredients. You can also swap the cornstarch for tapioca flour or arrowroot powder!
What is the best gluten free flour to use?
Other flours could likely be used in this recipe so you can use what you have. However, just be aware that other gluten free flour blends have different ratios of ingredients used in their blends. So in this recipe you may need to add more or less flour to get similar results.
What cocoa powder should I use?
My favorite cocoa powder to use in this recipe is the King Arthur Double Dutch Dark chocolate powder! It has a rich chocolate flavor that provides a beautiful color.
You can also use Hershey’s cocoa powder available from most grocery stores. Just note that sometimes this cocoa powder can be more bitter and you may need to add a few more spoonfuls of sugar to balance the flavors out.
If you dare, there is also black cocoa powder! This will provide the most intense dark color to your cookies and is made with only cocoa powder. Plus, it won’t stain any of your hands or clothes like normal food coloring can do.
I recommend using black cocoa powder over activated charcoal in cooking and baking. Charcoal can affect how medications work in the body, everything from allergy medications to birth control can be less effective if you eat activated charcoal. If you have any questions, make sure to talk to your doctor!
How can I store these cookies?
The best way to store these cookies is in an airtight container with layers of parchment paper or wax paper in between the layers so the frosting does not get smudged. They will keep on the countertop for up to a week.
You can freeze these cookies after baking in an airtight container, again with layers of parchment paper or wax paper in between them, for up to 3 months. Allow them to come to room temperature on the countertop for a few hours before serving!
More Halloween Recipes
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- mixing bowls
- mixing spoons
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- stand mixer or hand mixer
- parchment paper
- baking trays
- 1 ½ cups gluten free flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup white sugar
- 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 8 tablespoons butter of choice
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese of choice
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon optional
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper or other non-stick baking surface. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together butter, cream cheese, and both sugars. Mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add egg and vanilla, mixing slowly until fully incorporated.
- In a separate medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt.
- Now slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix on low-medium speed until dough forms.
- Divide dough in half and add cinnamon and cayenne to half of the dough, if using.
- Roll dough out to about ¼ inch thickness between two sheets of parchment paper. Use a cookie cutter to press straight down into the dough without twisting the cookie cutter. Gently transfer cookies to the baking sheet.
- Place the cookies in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes while the oven preheats.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the cookie slightly pull away from the paper. Let cool completely before frosting.
- Mix the powdered sugar and water together until a stiff frosting forms. You may need more or less water, depending on your brand of powdered sugar. Transfer to a piping bag and frost cookies as desired. Place them in the fridge to help them set. Enjoy!
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