Classic buttery thumbprint cookies get a creepy Halloween makeover for these party-ready eyeball cookies. Easy decorating with frosting, chips, and red gel!
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About Eyeball Cookies
I’m going a little crazy for Halloween this year, and these way-too-easy eyeball cookies are the latest addition.
Those of you who follow this little food blog will know that I struggle with decorating. I can draw and craft and create a whole plethora of other wondrous things with my hands, but pretty cakes and cookies are simply not among the items in that list.
So whenever I post a “pretty” recipe like the one you see here today, you can bet that I’ve done my best to come up with something that even a four-year-old could make.
Because, quite frankly, that’s about the developmental level of my decorating skills.
For one, the cookie recipe is very easy to make, because there are only five ingredients. Plus, this recipe does not include eggs. Now, that’s not to say that there’s anything “bad” about a cookie recipe with eggs, but you do need to be a bit more careful with the dough when eggs present. There’s nothing that stresses me out about making these cookies.
For two, this recipe has always made a light, buttery cookie every time I’ve baked them. Even when I thought the butter had softened too much (yes, that is something you have to watch out for) or somehow I thought the dough felt a little different than I remembered, the cookies still turned out the same way every time. I like that kind of dependability in a cookie.
And for three… they’re just fun! Thumbprint cookies are named this because you use your thumb to create a small well in the center, and you can fill that well with all sorts of fun things.
Such a glob of frosting.
With a chocolate chip in the middle.
And red gel around the outside for that just-woke-up-from-the-morgue look.
Or in other words, you can fill thumbprint cookies with a homemade eyeball for a lot of Halloween fun!
Do you have to use margarine?
This recipe uses two types of butter: “standard” butter and margarine.
Margarine was very popular in older recipes like this one, but over time, that’s become less common because the ingredients in margarine have changed. Margarine used to have a lot more fat than butter, but from what I understand from my limited research, that’s no longer the case.
So, that begs the question: do you have to use margarine in this recipe?
I always have used margarine, so I don’t have any advice to give based on personal experience, but this discussion on Chowhound has some good info that can help you make the choice for your own baking.
Do you have to chill the dough?
Because this recipe uses a lot of butter, you may want to consider chilling the dough for 1-2 hours before baking.
As for me, I have never chilled this dough and have always been happy with the results, so the recipe instructions do not mention chilling.
However, if you’re curious what chilling does do cookie dough and whether or not you’d like to try it for this recipe, be sure to check out this article: Chilling Cookie Dough: Does it Make a Difference?
notes & tips for these eyeball cookies
- If you’re doing a lot of baking, I highly recommend having some silicone baking mats or silicone baking mats on hand. Baking cookies takes enough time without having to cut or measure parchment paper. Or if you prefer using parchment paper, you can try using pre-cut parchment paper sheets instead.
- Plus, some quality baking sheets are a must for a cookie baking extravaganza!
- For this recipe, I highly recommend using a stand mixer or a hand mixer. This recipe would be difficult to make by hand with a whisk.
- Looking for more great treats to serve at your Halloween party? Be sure to check out Monster Halloween Truffles, Spider Apple Pops, Glow in the Dark Jello Shots, Polyjuice Potion, Black Magic Sangria, Zombie Brain Shot, Brain Dip, Monster Cake Pops, Purple People Eater Cocktail, Killer Mini Halloween Cakes, Witch’s Brew, Pretzel Witch Fingers, Monster Eye Pudding Cups, and Witch Hat Cupcakes!
More fun cookie recipes
For the Thumbprint Cookies
- In a large bowl, sift together sugar and flour, then set aside.
- Drop mixer speed to low and add vanilla extract, then blend for 30 seconds.
- Keeping speed on low, quickly add dry ingredients to the wet. Tip: use a 1/3 or 1/2 measuring cup to continually scoop the dry ingredients in while the batter continues to mix (see above video for example). Continue to mix until dough begins to cling to the beater and has a soft and smooth texture, about 2-4 minutes.
- Using a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop out dough and roll it between your hands. Place finished cookie ball on prepared baking sheet. Repeat this step until all dough is used, placing cookies about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
- Use your thumb (or the back of a spoon) and press into the center of the cookie dough, creating a small well. See above video for example.
- Bake cookies for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the sides of the cookies are puffed and bottoms of cookies begin to turn a light golden color.
- Let cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- Drop mixer speed to low and pour in powdered sugar and vanilla extract, blending thoroughly until frosting is smooth.
Putting it all Together
- For each cookie, place one chocolate chip upside down in the center of the frosting so that it looks like a pupil.
- Pipe a ring of red gel around the frosting. If desired, use a toothpick to either smooth the gel line or pull out some tendrils to create a cracked look.
- Serve cookies immediately. If making cookies in advance, place cookies in a sealable container (arranged in a single layer) and store in the refrigerator. Cookies can be stored this way for 3-4 days.
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.