These Vegan Halloween Pinwheel Cookies have all the black and orange colors of Halloween with all the flavor of a buttery shortbread cookie. Truly the perfect vegan & dairy-free Halloween shortbread cookies!
How to bake with activated charcoal
What is Activated Charcoal Powder?
To describe it simply, it's an odorless black powder made from carbon. A lot of people use it is a health supplement as it can bind to toxins in the system and help with digestive issues (this is called adsorption). It’s also commonly used as a water filtering agent, facemasks to remove impurities, and in some toothpaste to aid in teeth whitening.
Activated Charcoal is a really good binder, however, it isn’t able to tell what is toxic vs. which vitamins and nutrients are good for you. For that reason, it’s not an ingredient I’d personally recommend eating every day.
While the amount of activated charcoal in this recipe is very minimal, if you take prescription drugs or supplements it's best to wait a few hours before eating anything with activated charcoal in it so you make sure you fully absorb them.
The Brand of Activated Charcoal I Use For Baking:
The good news? Using activated charcoal will give you that rich black color you see in these Vegan Halloween Cookies and it doesn't affect the taste at all!
How to make vegan Halloween cookies
Making Halloween swirl cookies may look complicated, but I promise you it's actually fairly easy! In fact, this recipe was adapted from my easy Vegan Cinnamon Roll Cookies!
First, make the charcoal & pumpkin cookie dough
After you've made the dough, you will split it into thirds. ⅔ of the dough be set aside and stay pumpkin dough while ⅓ of the dough will get mixed with 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal to become a black dough.
I didn't use it in the pictures you see here, but if you're looking to make the pumpkin dough more "Halloween orange" vs. a muted orange, you could try 1 teaspoon of Suncore Foods Carrot Orange Powder or use Natural Orange Food Coloring in the ⅔ pumpkin dough.
Next Roll Out The Dough
Roll the pumpkin dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Then, roll the charcoal dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper.
Layer the black dough on top of the pumpkin dough and gently roll/press the dough together. It's totally okay if the black and orange dough doesn't line up perfectly- you will still get amazing swirls!
Next, roll the dough into a log
Press the dough edges together to seal them!
Optional- Add Some Halloween Sprinkles to The Mix!
For an extra twist, roll the sugar cookies in some vegan sprinkles.
Rolling these Halloween shortbread cookies in orange and black sprinkles gives them an extra crunch and makes them look even more like the perfect vegan Halloween food!
Freeze the dough & slice
At this point, you'll want to put the dough into the freezer for 15 minutes so that you can keep those perfect swirls when cutting the dough.
Then, remove the charcoal & pumpkin pinwheel dough from the freezer and cut it into 10-12 evenly sized cookies.
Finally, bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes and you officially have the perfect Halloween cookies!
I don't know about you all, but Halloween happens to be one of my favorite times of the year.
There's just something amazing about endless candy, dressing up with your girlfriends, and- if you're anything like me- eating and drinking all the weirdly cute vegan Halloween treats available. Enjoy these spooky Halloween sugar cookies and don't forget to try my Vegan Monster Cookies next!
More vegan pumpkin recipes you will love:
If you loved this recipe, please leave a 5-star review on the recipe card. I always appreciate your feedback and support! You can also follow along on my Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Pinterest, or sign up for our newsletter!
Vegan Halloween Pinwheel Cookies
- ½ cup vegan butter
- ½ cup organic sugar
- 1 flax egg 1 tablespoon (8 grams) ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoon water, let sit 5 minutes to thicken
- 3 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon charcoal powder
- 3 Tablespoons orange sprinkles optional
- 3 Tablespoons black sprinkles optional
- Add your cold vegan butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl or stand mixer and whip until the butter is creamed (about 2-5 minutes). Once creamed, add in your flax egg, vanilla bean paste, and pumpkin puree and beat for about 30 seconds to combine.
- Next, add in the all-purpose flour and salt. Mix together until a thick cookie dough forms.
- Remove the cookie dough and separate into thirds. Set aside ⅔ of the pumpkin cookie dough and roll into a ball. Add the remaining ⅓ of the cookie dough back to the mixing bowl and add 1 teaspoon of charcoal powder. Mix until the dough is completely black.
- Roll the pumpkin dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper into a rectangle about ½ inch thick in height. Then, roll out the charcoal cookie dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper into a slightly thinner, but similar-sized rectange.
- Layer the charcoal dough on top of the pumpkin cookie dough and gently roll it out to press the two colors of dough together (don't add too much pressure as you just want the dough to stick together, not blend the colors).
- Then, carefully roll the dough until a log forms. Press the edges down to seal. If the dough cracks at all while you roll it up, lightly press it back together and continue rolling.
- Mix the orange and black sprinkles together in a dish and begin to press them into the outside of the cookie dough log until completely covered. This step is optional so feel free to skip it if you don't want to use sprinkles!
- Next, lay parchment paper on top of a large baking tray and place the rolled up cookie log on top. Place the tray with the log in the freezer for at least 15-20 minutes to solidify before cutting.
- After 15-20 minutes, remove the dough from the freezer and preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the dough into 10-12 even slices that are about 1 inch wide.
- Lay the slices onto the baking tray covered in parchment paper, making sure to leave space between each cookie. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until firm and very lightly browned (too browned will mean you overcooked them and cooking time will vary on how thick you cut the cookie slices). Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet about 5 minutes. Once cooled, serve and enjoy!
- Cookies can be stored in a closed container at room temperature for 2-3 days, in the fridge for up to 1 week, and in the freezer for up to 1 month. They are best stored between layers of parchment paper and keep their texture best when stored in the freezer.