Zombie Cookies

image of zombie cookies made with soft cream cheese cookies and homemade buttercream frosting

I wanted to make some fun cookies for Halloween this year, so I jazzed up a batch of my buttercream cookies to make these zombie cookies!

These soft-batch butter cookies with buttercream frosting will knock your socks off. They’re not too sweet on their own, which makes them the perfect base for my sweet buttercream frosting.

image of zombie cookies made with soft cream cheese cookies and homemade buttercream frosting

The Secret Ingredient(s) in These Zombie Buttercream Cookies

What gives these cookies that unique texture and taste? We can thank a bit of cream cheese and cornstarch for making these cookies so great.

Both help the cookies bake up soft so they’re still chewy once they’ve cooled.

Now I know cream cheese is probably not an ingredient you’d expect to find in a cookie recipe. But trust me, it makes all the difference.

It also brightens the color of the cookies by giving them a lighter color. I love this, because it really helps the colorful buttercream pop once the cookies are frosted.

image of cream cheese sugar cookies stacked and baked

And the cornstarch? It helps soften cookies by “softening” the proteins found in the all purpose flour.

The end result is almost like you’re using cake flour in this recipe! It creates a super tender, melt-in-your-mouth cookie.

Making Sure Your Zombie Cookies Are Soft & Fluffy

While I love getting caught up in the decoration of my desserts, it’s super important that my recipes are just as delicious.

When I eat a cookie like this I want it to be thick, soft and buttery.

close up shot of sugar cookie with cream cheese

Now, this isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish. Even if you have the best sugar cookie recipe, so much comes down to the technique you use and how you make the cookie dough.

The first thing to keep in mind is measuring the right amount of flour. Some home bakers really pack flour into their measuring cup. Unfortunately this can cause a person to add a lot more flour to a recipe than it calls for.

I like to use a kitchen scale to be exact, but you can also fluff your flour up in your bag with a spoon, then add spoonfuls into a measuring cup and level it off with a knife.

image of flour being leveled in a measuring cup

It’s also important that you chill your dough and liberally flour your counter or surface before rolling out the the dough.

This makes the dough easier to roll out and prevents the cookies from spreading. I know it can be hard to be patient but it’s worth taking the extra time to chill the dough!!

I’m actually a big fan of the double chill. I chill the dough before I roll it out, and one more time once they’re cut out. I’ve found that a lot of the time once I’m done cutting out my cookies the dough has warmed up to room temperature!

image of sugar cookies with cream cheese being cut out

I pop the cut cookies into the freezer for about 10 minutes before baking them. The second chill ensures the cookies are still cold when they go into the oven. This really helps them keep their shape.

The Buttercream Frosting

Now onto my favorite part, the buttercream frosting. These zombie cookies are decorated with my American buttercream.

While this frosting is amazing for making cakes, it also is fantastic for cookies! I add a tiny bit more heavy cream, to make it easy to pipe with.

An added bonus this type of frosting hardens! American buttercream crusts as it sits and is exposed to air. It might sound creepy, but it’s a totally natural reaction caused by the high sugar content in the frosting.

image of green buttercream frosting

Making frosting from scratch can be intimidating the first time, but I promise once you try it you’ll never go back to canned or premade frosting.

My buttercream frosting for cookies only uses 5 ingredients and comes together in about 5 minutes. It doesn’t get easier than that!!

You can also easily add in an additional teaspoon or two of extract to make your favorite flavors.

Another great thing about my buttercream recipe? It can be made in advance and keeps in the fridge for months!

I love prepping things in advance so that I don’t have to make everything in one day. It makes the decoration process so much easier and more enjoyable.

Decorating These Zombie Cookies

Now it’s time to discuss my favorite part, decorating these cookies!

If we’re going to spend a bunch of time baking these zombie cookies from scratch, we should take a little extra time to make them look as spooky and amazing as we can!

All you need are some piping bags and a bit of gel food coloring. This recipe makes quite a few cookies so you can invite your friends or your kids into the kitchen with you and have some fun.

I used green, pink, black and white buttercream to create my zombie face. I also made a variety of expressions to keep things interesting!!

image of zombie cookies made with soft cream cheese cookies and homemade buttercream frosting

Tips for Making the Best Zombie Cookies:

  • Liberally flour your counter before you roll out your cookie dough and move it around while you roll and cut your cookies.
  • Also flour your cookie cutters before each cut! It helps the dough easily pop out of the cutter and helps the cookies keep their shape.
  • Really cream together the butter, cream cheese and granulated sugar in the first step of this recipe. It helps incorporate air into the dough which makes fluffy and soft cookies.
  • Don’t overwork your cookie dough! It can over-work the gluten and result in tough and dense cookies
  • Roll your cookie dough out to a consistent thickness of 1/3 inch. If some are thicker or thinner than others, they may over or under bake in the oven.
  • Chill your cookie dough. It helps prevent your cookies from spreading while they bake.
  • Don’t over bake your cookies. Err of the side of underbaking your cookies and remember that the cookies continue to bake for a few minutes once they’re out of the oven.
image of a zombie cookie that's been bitten into to show how soft and chewy the cookie is

Making These Zombie Cookies in Advance and Storage Tips

You can store frosted cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature or for up to a 5 days in the fridge. The buttercream won’t spoil, I promise!

If you want to stack the cookies on top of one another, I recommend adding a layer of parchment paper between them.

This cookie dough can also be frozen for up to 1 month if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container. I like to move the cookie dough to the fridge the night before I plan to roll it out and bake the cookies.

Baked, unfrosted cookies can also be frozen! These cookies last for up to a month if frozen in an airtight container. I recommend waiting to frost them until they’ve thawed to room temperature.

Move them to the fridge the day before you plan to eat them, then let them sit out at room temperature for a few hours before frosting them.

Other Recipes You Might Like

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try my recipe for zombie cookies I’d love to hear what think of it! Please leave a rating and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment.

Yield: 24

Zombie Cookies

image of zombie cookies made with soft cream cheese cookies and homemade buttercream frosting

These zombie cookies are incredibly soft and chewy and are topped with the most delicious homemade buttercream frosting.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 1 minute

Ingredients

Soft Zombie Cookies

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (170 grams) - 1 1/2 sticks
  • 1/2 cup full fat cream cheese, room temperature (113 grams) - 4 oz.
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (300 grams)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature (56 grams)
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract (6 grams)
  • 1 tsp almond extract (3 grams)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (390 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch (8 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (2 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)

Buttercream Frosting for Zombie Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract (9 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (454 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream (30 grams)

Additional Supplies

Instructions

Soft Buttercream Cookies

    1. Mix together 3/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup cream cheese at a medium speed with a whisk attachment or hand mixer until smooth.
    2. Next, mix in 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar at a medium-high speed for a couple minutes, until the mixture becomes lighter in color.
    3. Add in 1 egg, 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract and 1 tsp almond extract. Mix on a low speed until incorporated.
    4. In a separate bowl, sift together 3 cups flour, 1 Tbsp cornstarch, 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt.
    5. Gradually mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture on a low speed, until it is JUST incorporated. I like to do this in a couple installments and scrape the sides of the bowl between additions.
    6. At this point the dough will still be pretty sticky. Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece of dough in a piece of plastic wrap.
    7. Chill in the fridge for about 2 hours or the freezer for 30 minutes. You can also chill the dough overnight.
    8. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F about 30 minutes before you plan to roll out the dough.
    9. Generously dust the surface you plan to roll the cookies out on with additional flour. Take one ball of dough out of the fridge or freezer, leaving the other to continue to chill.
    10. Sprinkle some more flour on top of your dough ball and on your rolling pin.
    11. Roll the chilled dough to be 1/3 inch thick and cut out your shapes with a flour dusted cookie cutter.
    12. Use a kitchen brush to gently brush off any excess flour and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet or silicone mat.
    13. Chill the cut out cookies one more time in the fridge for 15 minutes or the freezer for 10 minutes to help them keep their shape better.
    14. Bake for 10-13 minutes on the top wrack of your oven (time varies based on the size and shape of the cookies). Keep a close eye on these and be sure to pull them out before the edges start to brown.
    15. Let the baked cookies cool on the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
    16. While the first batch bakes and cools, knead together the cookie dough scraps, and rewrap them in plastic wrap. Pop them back in the fridge to chill.
    17. Pull out your 2nd chilled ball of dough, and repeat steps 9-15. Then repeat with the chilled dough scraps.

Buttercream Frosting For Sugar Cookies

  1. Beat 1 cup of butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth.
  2. Mix in 1 Tbsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp salt on a low speed
  3. Slowly add in 3 1/2 powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Half way through add in 2 Tbsp of heavy cream or milk to make it easier to mix.
  4. Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached
  5. If the frosting seems too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tbsp at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
  6. Use gel food coloring to color 1/2 the frosting green, 1/4 pink, 1/8 black, and 1/8 white.
  1. Place each color of frosting into a small piping bag and snip the ends to decorate your zombie faces! I didn't use any piping tip but you can use small round piping tips if you have them on hand.

Notes

Yield

This recipe can be used to make 24 3-inch circular cookies. The yield and bake time will vary based on the size and shape of cookie cutter you use.

This recipe can be halved or doubled to make more or less cookies.

Making These Zombie Cookies in Advance and Storage Tips

You can store frosted cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature or for up to a 5 days in the fridge. The buttercream won’t spoil, I promise!

If you want to stack the cookies on top of one another, I recommend adding a layer of parchment paper between them.

This cookie dough can be frozen for up to a month if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container. I like to move the cookie dough to the fridge the night before I plan to roll it out and bake the cookies.

Baked, unfrosted cookies can also be frozen! These cookies last for up to a month if frozen in an airtight container. I recommend waiting to frost them until they’ve thawed to room temperature.

Move them to the fridge the day before you plan to eat them, then let them sit out at room temperature for a few hours before frosting them.

Tips for Making the Best Zombie Cookies:

  • Liberally flour your counter before you roll out your cookie dough and move it around while you roll and cut your cookies.
  • Also flour your cookie cutters before each cut! It helps the dough easily pop out of the cutter and helps the cookies keep their shape.
  • Really cream together the butter, cream cheese and granulated sugar in the first step of this recipe. It helps incorporate air into the dough which makes fluffy and soft cookies.
  • Don’t overwork your cookie dough! It can over-work the gluten and result in tough and dense cookies
  • Roll your cookie dough out to a consistent thickness of 1/3 inch. If some are thicker or thinner than others, they may over or under bake in the oven.
  • Chill your cookie dough. It helps prevent your cookies from spreading while they bake.
  • Don’t over bake your cookies. Err of the side of underbaking your cookies and remember that the cookies continue to bake for a few minutes once they’re out of the oven.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 323Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 50mgSodium 131mgCarbohydrates 42gFiber 0gSugar 30gProtein 2g

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