How to Make Optical Illusion Jack-O-Lantern Decorated Cookies

Decorated chocolate sugar cookies that look like glowing Jack-O-Lanterns

These cookies are the most perfect last minute Halloween cookies ever. Seriously, I think they are going to be in Wikipedia some day under "most perfect last minute Halloween cookies ever." Probably, you should give it a couple of days and then you  can look it up yourself. You won't have to take my word for it anymore. Okay, sure, the cats are slightly quicker, but I like these better. (Just promise me you won't tell the cats. It's not like we are really getting along that well right now anyway, and I certainly don't need one more reason for them to hate me.)

Jack-O-Lantern cookie tutorial

The key is to start with a black cookie dough. I used my chocolate cookie recipe and added a little bit of black food coloring right before adding the flour. Roll out your cookie dough and cut out some pumpkins. Then use the same pumpkin cutter to add the curvy pumpkin lines to the cookie before baking it. (This is a HUGE reason why I love my chocolate cookie recipe.You can add details like this and they don't bake out because there is zero spread. And because it tastes good.)

jack-lantern decorated sugar cookie tutorial
Using orange icing, add eyes in whatever shape you feel is best for your Jack-O-Lantern. I usually go for the oh-so-traditional triangle eyes, but I thought I'd throw caution to the wind this time and go for a slightly more menacing shape.

Halloween decorated sugar cookie Jack-o-Lantern tutorial

You need to add the yellow "glow" to the eyes immediately. I'm kind of a toothpick gal. (As in, I use toothpicks for everything except making my bed in the morning.) I just dip a toothpick in some yellow icing and draw along the edge of the eye. But you could definitely pipe the yellow icing on there as well.

Halloween jack-o-lantern sugar cookie decorating tutorial

You can choose where you want the glow to be. On these eyes, I added the yellow to the bottom and outer edges. On the other faces, I added the glow to the top and outer edges. Do what you want.

Let me explain something -- I do NOT like washing icing bags. I avoid it at all costs. Clearly. For the eyes, I put a bit of black icing into a #1 tip, and pushed it out with my very clean and highly washed finger. You don't even have to add black eye dots. You can just skip this step and use that extra 4-5 seconds to contemplate life as we know it. I'll meet you on the mouth step.

Hey -- welcome back. It's the mouth step already. Pipe on some sort of vague mouth shape with your orange icing.

Jack-o-Lantern decorated sugar cookie tutorial

And then using that toothpick again, (or bag/bottle of icing) draw the yellow around the edges where you feel it is appropriate. I basically went for all outer-type edges on the mouth. (I'm sure that clears things RIGHT up.)

optical illusion Halloween Jack-O-Lantern decorated cookies

This last step is real, real important. You have to stand back after a good hard, 20 seconds of decorating and just admire your cookies. If you don't take this time to appreciate the good things in life (like these cookies) you're never going to find happiness. And that would be sad. And I don't like sad things. Or creepy things. Not that YOU are creepy. That's not what I'm trying to say. Unless you ARE creepy. And if you're cool with that, then that's totally fine with me. Don't change on my account. Just don't come round my house at night or anything like that. Because...see....there are these ninjas....

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