Fall is a great time for baking projects with the kids and no one can resist these multi-colored cookies in the shape of leaves and pumpkins. On the next blustery, autumnal day when you are stuck inside, turn on the oven and make a batch of these sweet treats with your children. After all, kids can help out in the kitchen more than you might think!
How to make fall shaped cookies
The autumnal coloring effect was simple to create and if you and your kids can make sugar cookies you can make these! Think of how great it would be to enjoy these cookies after a busy week checking some of these fun fall family activities off your list, reading fall books, or helping your child make his own Halloween costume.
What you need:
Sugar cookie dough. Make your own, or use a store-bought dough (no judgements from me!).
Cookie cutters in fall shapes like leaves and pumpkins
Food coloring. You want at least three colors.
Note on food coloring: you can use standard artificial food dye or "natural" food dyes. Instead of liquid food dye, we used turmeric and cocoa powder.
Rolling pin, baking sheets, parchment paper, etc.
Start out with your favorite sugar cookie dough recipe and divide the dough into thirds.
Mix in the coloring
In one of the thirds, mix in the yellow dye, or turmeric powder. If using turmeric, you don't need much, about ½ teaspoon. Don't worry. It doesn't really alter the flavor. These will not be curry-flavored cookies.
In another portion, mix in the cocoa powder, or dye color of your choice. We used as much as we could without altering the texture of the dough. (I'm not an exact science baker.)
For the third portion, add a different color or leave as is, which is what we did.
Create the multi-colored dough
Now that you have three balls of cookie dough, tear each portion into multiple sections and randomly arrange the portions so that you have a large, mottled-looking ball of dough. Refrigerate before rolling, if necessary.
Place dough onto floured surface and roll out to thickness indicated in your recipe.
Cut out fall leaves and pumpkin shapes. Bake according to your recipe instructions.
What I love about this method of making autumn-inspired cookies is that the idea can be adapted to any holiday. For Christmas use red, green and white dough and tree and wreath cookie cutters. For spring, use blue, green and pink dough and flower cookie cutters. You get the idea.
The best part? Eating the cookies with your kids.
Idea first published 2009, updated 2023.