Everyone loves the colors and flavors of fall and these beautiful Autumn Leaf Sugar Cookies with Maple Syrup are colorful and delicious. Bake a batch of these easy-to-make cutout cookies to celebrate the season. Everyone loves them!
We have made batches of these colorful sugar cookies flavored with maple syrup for fall parties, Halloween, and they are always a hit sitting on my Thanksgiving table.
It’s pretty common with my family to pick out our favorite cookies and set them on plates with our names on them to have after dinner. It’s all about getting the prettiest and most colorful fall leaf cookie on the platter.
Which colorful cookie is your favorite?
It’s hard to pick a favorite when they are all so pretty.
🍁Leaf cookie making tips
These cookies take just seven ingredients and leaf-shaped cookie cutters. Have fun cutting out the leaf shapes and seeing what colors appear.
- This dough needs to chill for an hour. The dough is not thick and heavy, so plan for a little chillin time.
- Because these cookies are all about color, I have found using just red and orange colors combine to make the prettiest soft hues on the cookies. Of course, you can try other colors like adding yellow or maybe a small amount of green. Experiment with colors!
- Just make sure to keep the colors as separated as possible so they don’t combine into one color of dough. Just press the dough scraps together and reroll.
- If you don’t have maple syrup you can add extra vanilla extract .
- Try adding some spice to the dough like cinnamon or nutmeg, even would be delicious.
- These cookies bake fast, just 7 minutes.
Let’s make cookies
How to mix and color the dough for the autumn colors
Step 1. Add the softened unsalted butter to a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. You can use a handheld mixer or a stand mixer to mix the dough.
Step 2. Add the brown sugar and mix again at medium speed to combine. I use dark brown sugar for these cookies.
Step 3. Add the egg, maple syrup, and vanilla, mix on medium speed to combine, then scrape the bowl. At this point the batter will look curdled, that’s Ok.
Step 4. Add one cup of flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix on medium-low until combined then add the rest of the flour. You may have to finish mixing in the flour with a wooden spoon if the dough is too thick.
Today I am using my hand-mixer because many of my readers don’t have a kitchen-aid mixer and I want to show that you don’t need one to make these cookies. If you have the kitchen-aid by all means use it.
Step 5. Separate the dough into thirds which is about ¾ cup each. Put two of the doughs in separate bowls and the other dough wrap in plastic wrap.
Step 6. Add about a ⅛ teaspoon of red gel food coloring to one of the bowls and orange gel food coloring to the other bowl. Mix the food coloring into the doughs and then turn it out on a piece of plastic wrap and then wrap up the dough and place all three doughs in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
How to shape the dough for cutout cookies
Step 7. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two cookies sheets with parchment or a Silpat.
Step 8. Take the three doughs out of the refrigerator. Set out a rolling matt and lightly dust with flour. Cut each dough into thirds and then using one third at a time roll each color into a 10″ rope. Keep the unused dough in the refrigerator until you need it.
Step 9. Place the three colors of ropes together on the floured mat and twist them together to make a twisted rope.
Step 10. Fold the twisted rope in half and press down with your hand to flatten. Lightly dust the rolling pin and roll the dough to about a ⅛″ thick round.
Step 11. Using different types of leaf cookie cutters, cut out your cookies, try to keep each cut-out as close as you can to the last one so there isn’t a lot of scraps leftover. Place each leaf cut-out on the baking sheet. The stem part of the cut-out is tricky sometimes and tends to break off so watch for that.
How to reroll cookie dough scraps
Step 12. When all the cutouts are made gently gather the flat scraps press them together, leaving them as flat as possible.
Now you can reroll the dough to ⅛″ thick and cut out more cookies, then again just push the leftover dough together, roll again and cut out more cookies. Sometimes all I get is one cookie each time but doing this can mean many extra cookies.
What you don’t want to do is gather all the scraps and roll them into a ball before rerolling which will result in all the colors combining into one, not so pretty color.
Step 13. Repeat cutting out cookies with the remaining dough.
Step 14. Bake the cookies for 7 minutes, when done remove the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.
How to make your cookies look more leafy
This is a super easy tip to add some character to your cookies. Place the cookies on the cookies sheet then with a sharp paring knife lightly cut in the leaf veins into the dough. Just a line down the center of the cookie and then cut in smaller lines on the sides.
Not only are these the best homemade autumn-inspired cookies they are the prettiest. Now that the cookies are baked make a cup of your favorite tea or coffee and sit down and enjoy a cookie or two.
You can frost these cookies with powdered sugar icing, but it will cover up the pretty colors in the cookies.
You can freeze the cookies after you bake them. Just let the cookies cool and stack between pieces of wax paper and place in a freezer container. Let thaw at room temperature before eating.
This dough is soft and before rolling and shaping, chilling the dough will firm it up so it is easier to work with. Also when the dough has been chilled cut-outs won’t spread.
One Hot Oven cookie inspirations
Try these Orange and Black Sprinkle Cookies for Halloween, ghosts, and goblins love them.
These Chocolate Shortbread Cookies are filled with crunchy cacao nibs for extra flavor.
Ginger Spice Cookies are a family favorite baked with three types of ginger.
If you like lemon, bake a batch of these Frosted Lemon Cookies.
Red food color and Orange food color and a really flavorful maple syrup
You also need fall autumn cookie cutters in the shape of leaves, my cutters are maple and oak leaves
Autumn Leaf Maple Cookies
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Mixing the dough
- Add the softened butter to a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the brown sugar and mix it in on medium speed until incorporated.
- Add the egg, maple syrup, and vanilla and mix on medium to combine. The mixture may look curdled or separated.
- Add one cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt and beat on medium speed to combine, then add in the rest of the flour, and beat in until combined. If the dough is too stiff for your mixer finish mixing in the flour with a wooden spoon.
- Alternately, use a kitchen-aide mixer to complete the steps above.
Coloring the Dough
- Separate the dough into thirds. This should be approximately ¾ cups each or 6 ounces each.
- Wrap one of the doughs in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator, and put the other two doughs in two bowls.
- Place the other two pieces of dough in bowls and add the red and orange food coloring to each dough. Stir until the dough changes color. If the dough is not dark enough add small amounts of food coloring to achieve the desired color.
- Wrap both of the doughs in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Cutting out the Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 375° and prepare baking sheets with parchment or a Silpat
- Take the three doughs out of the refrigerator and cut into thirds. Using one third at a time place the doughs on a lightly floured surface for rolling.
- Roll each piece of dough into a 10"-12" rope and place all three roped together on the floured surface.
- Holding one end of the dough, start rolling the dough toward you so the dough starts twisting. You will end up with one large twisted rope.
- Fold the dough in half and then using a lightly floured rolling pin roll out the dough to a ⅛" thick.
- Using leaf cookie cutters, start cutting out cookies, try to cut out the shapes close together so you do not have a lot of excess dough. Place the cut-outs on the baking sheet, then using a small paring knife, cut veins into each leaf.
- You will have scraps left from cutting out the cookies, place these to the side, and leave as flat as possible. When done cutting out each batch of cookies, take the scraps and start placing them close together, pressing with your fingers to form the dough. Now, lightly reroll the dough and cut out more cookies. You don't want to handle the colored pieces of scraps too much or they will become one color of dough.
- Repeat cutting out the cookies. If you find the dough is getting soft, put it back into the refrigerator to chill.
- Bake the cookies for 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the cookies on a cooling rack
First published: Sept 15, 2020, Last updated: Sept. 16, 2021, for better readability
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From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory recipes with all my baking friends.
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