If you want to enjoy a sweet treat on Dia de Los Muertos but don’t want to bake pan de muerto, then make these adorable Day of the Dead cookies. This galletas de pan de muerto are shaped just like the pan dulce and also have the same delicious orange flavor.
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Day of The Dead Cookies
Most Day of the Dead cookies you’ll typically find are the ones shaped like calaveritas or sugar skulls. They are gorgeous but let’s face it one needs to be talented at decorating sugar cookies, plus dedicate quite a bit of time to the project.
Well amigos, I’ve got an alternative for you!
The traditional Dia de Los Muertos dessert is pan de muerto – have you seen my vegan Day of The Dead bread recipe yet?
Pan de muerto is a seasonal treat not to be missed. The only downside is that it does take a bit of time to make – I mean totally worth the time and effort, but I do understand not everyone can dedicated the time needed.
So mis queridos amigos, these cookies are just the solution!
Galletas de Pan de Muerto
Galletas in Spanish means cookies, and pan de muerto translates to bread of the dead.
There’s a lot of history and cultural importance begin this flavorful bread. A Dia de Muertos without pan de muerto just isn’t the same. Actually all the weeks leading up to the holiday just isn’t the same without indulging in at least a few pan de muerto rolls or loafs.
Last year amongst the Mexican food vloggers I started seeing these adorable Day of the Dead cookies shaped just like pan de muerto. I knew I had to make them immediately.
This recipe I’m sharing with you today is a mixture of many different sources online, and the results are insanely delicious!
Are These Mexican Cookies Vegan?
Yes, there are no animal products in these festive vegan Mexican cookies. Trust me amigos, no one can tell the difference.
In our home I’m the only vegan and I’ve shared these cookies with 6 meat-eaters and not one of them could tell these cookies were vegan. They were all surprised when I told them there was no dairy or eggs in these. Needless to say the cookies didn’t last, we quickly gobbled them up.
If you would rather make these a vegetarian cookie then make sure to read the notes below. It’s quite easy to do. Also if you want to bake a batch of vegan and one vegetarian for your family, that’s totally doable too.
More Vegan Dia de Los Muertos Recipes
- The BEST Vegan Pan De Muerto
- Calabaza En Tacha or Mexican Candied Pumpkin
- The BEST Mexican Hot Chocolate
- Champurrado Recipe
- Pibipollo (Vegan Tamales for Day of The Dead)
- How to Make a Dia de Los Muertos Altar
Day of The Dead Cookie Ingredients
These are pretty standard cookie ingredients and you’ll be able find them at nearly all grocery stores. Check my notes about the orange blossom water, just in case.
- Vegan Butter: I used Miyoko’s European Style Cultured Vegan Butter, salted and made with cashews. It’s the only butter I’ve been able to test these cookies with.
- Cane Sugar: To make these cookies vegan use either unrefined cane sugar or vegan white sugar.
- Aquafaba: This is broth that you find in canned chickpeas. We’re using it to replace egg.
- Orange Blossom Water or esencia de azahar (this is the brand I use)*
- Orange Zest: This is the grated peel from an orange.
- All Purpose Flour: This is just your standard white wheat flour, try to use an extra fine ground if possible, to give you a light and airy bread.
- Soy Milk: Unsweetened and unflavored, I used Silk brand.
- Cinnamon and Sugar: To coat the cookies
You can get orange blossom water or esencia de azahar from Mexican grocery stores or Middle Easter markets, of course there’s also on Amazon . Where ever you purchase it just make sure it’s food grade.
If you don’t have access to the orange blossom water then you can substitute with orange juice or vanilla extract. However, it will give you a different flavor.
How to Make These Cookies Vegetarian
To make vegetarian galletas de pan de muerto you’re simply going to swap out the plant-based dairy products and the vegan egg.
Instead of the vegan butter you can use regular salted or unsalted butter.
Replace the aquafaba with one whole egg.
The soymilk you can replace with your choice of dairy-based milk.
How to Make Galletas de Pan de Muerto
This recipe is so easy to make and won’t take you long. Please see the recipe card below for more details.
Step 1: In a medium-large bowl cream the slightly softened vegan butter with the sugar until well combined and creamy and airy.
Step 2: Next add the aquafaba, orange blossom water, and orange zest. Beat until well combined. Use a silicone spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl if needed.
Step 3: Add the flour then the salt. Beat until you have course and damp crumbs. Use the spatula to help scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Step 4: Use the spatula to help gather the dough to the center of the bowl. Now use your hands to bring it together to form a ball. Make sure there aren’t any pieces of unmixed flour in the dough.
Step 5: Wrap the cookie dough ball in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until ready to use.
Step 6: Line a cookie sheet with baking paper (parchment paper) then set it aside. Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C.
Step 7: Place the chilled dough on your work surface. Use a one tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out some cookie dough. Shape the dough into a small ball. Remove two small pieces to form two logs, then grab a smaller piece and make a small ball with it.
Step 8: Use your finger to lightly coat the cookie dough ball with a little bit of soy milk. Roll out the two logs to form the “bones or huesitos” then lay them crisscrossed on top of the cookie ball. Where the join dap a little milk and press the small ball into it.
Step 9: Place the shaped cookies on the cookie sheet and repeat until all of the cookie dough has been used up.
Step 10: Bake in the center of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Start keeping a closer eye after 10 minutes. The cookies should be slightly golden brown on the bottom and on top.
Step 11: Cool on a cooling rack and once at room temperature brush with melted vegan butter then coat with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
How to Serve Day of The Dead Cookies
Serve these cookies with hot chocolate or coffee or as a simple dessert.
You can also use them to decorate your Day of The Dead altar and eat them later.
What do Pan de Muerto Cookies Taste Like
It’s going to blow your mind just how much these cookies taste like pan de muerto!
Pan de muerto cookies taste and smell slightly floral with a prominent orange flavor. These are the authentic and traditional flavors and scents of Day of The Dead bread.
The cookies are delicate and crumbly, they’re just sweet enough and have just a touch of Mexican canela or cinnamon flavor.
How to Store
These cookies will keep fresh for about 4 days in a closed container.
If you live in a hot and humid place like I do, you can put them in the refrigerator then leave out to come to room temperature before serving.
Pan de Muerto Cookies Recipe
Ok amigos, below is the printable recipe card – which you can also bookmark to your favorite recipes.
I truly hope you make these cookies because they embody the amazing scents and flavors of Dia de Muertos.
Do leave me a comment letting me know how you liked them!
Mexican Day of The Dead Cookies
- Mixing bowl
- hand mixer
- cookie sheet
- baking paper aka parchment paper
- pastry brush
- 10 Tablespoons vegan butter it’s 150 grams at room temperature
- 1/2 cup cane sugar it’s 100 grams
- 3 Tablespoons aquafaba
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water or esencia de azahar
- 1 Tablespoon orange zest
- pinch of salt
- 2.5 cup all purpose flour it’s 335g and try to use extra fine flour
- 1/4 cup soy milk unsweetened Silk brand
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon Mexican canela or Ceylon cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons vegan butter melted
- Place the butter and half cup of sugar in a medium-large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy.
- Add the aguafaba, orange blossom water, and orange zest. Beat until well combined.
- Next pour in the flour and salt. Mix until well combined and you have course, crumbly crumbs. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and incorporate ingredients better. Making sure there's no unmixed flour.
- Use the spatula to help gather the dough then use your hands to form a ball shape with the dough.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, preheat the oven to 350F or 180C.
- Unwrap the cookie dough and place on your work surface. Scoop or measure out one tablespoon of the cookie dough and shape into a ball. Then remove two small pieces to form two logs, then grab a smaller piece and make a small ball with it.
- Use your finger to lightly coat the larger cookie ball with a little bit of soy milk. Roll out the small logs to form the “bones or huesitos” then lay them crisscross over the larger ball. In the center were the two logs join, press it down then add a little bit of soymilk, next place the tiny ball in here and lightly press it down. Place the cookie on the cookie sheet.
- Repeat making the cookies until you run out of cookie dough. I ended up with 26 cookies.
- Bake in the center of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. At the 10 minute mark you’ll need to keep a close eye on them. They should turn slightly golden brown but still be light color.
- Place on a cooling rack until completely cooled. In a small bowl combine the cinnamon with remaining sugar until well combined.
- Once cookies have cooled brush with melted butter then dip into the sugar mixture making sure to evenly coat the surface. Serve as desired and enjoy!
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Have a beautiful holiday amigos!
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…