Cookie Recipe Swap

I have mentioned once or twice before that I lack a certain amount of "finesse" and "precision" in my day to day life and because of this I am a very poor baker, which, for my waistline, is probably a good thing because I am a very good (or bad) dessert devourer. I have absolutely no will power. I will eat cake for breakfast whenever the opportunity arises. I don't care if I feel bad for the rest of the day because of the sugar crash. I'll do it.

So I don't know what possessed me to join up for a Christmas recipe swap. My recipe was a pretty standard one that has the notoriety of being the only recipe I consistently make without messing up but it is someone else's job to share that. . . of course, the way the world works, I did not get a recipe from a fellow measurement challenged distracted baker like myself, and so I was nearly knocked over when I saw the three page document that came in the mail (in all fairness it was a two page recipe and there was a follow up "simpler" recipe if the first seemed too hard that was on the third page . . . but I needed a challenge). My swap partner was Ann at Harvest Moon by Hand.  I did a little bit of cheating. I chose not to make the royal icing suggested to go along with these cookies. I wanted my daughter to help and I didn't want to purchase a decorating bag and tips, so that was one cheat. The second cheat was that I didn't want to actually type up the entire recipe for this, so, seeing that it was a Martha Stewart recipe, I googled it and found it online for copying and pasting (the header should link back to the recipe online). They really are very good cookies. . .even the ones I burned. Yes, I burned them. I told you about me and baking. I don't know why you insist on not believing me. Sheesh. . .

Coryn Helping Out

She Turned on the Mixer (to High) right after I added flour

Flour got everywhere

us girls, baking
Such a Helper


Boiled Gingerbread Cookies


  • 2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces and softened
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more if needed and more for surface
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Royal Icing
  • Fine sanding sugar


  1. Combine molasses, sugar, and spices in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve; boil 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Add baking soda and salt, and beat on low speed until frothy, about 2 minutes. Beat in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until thoroughly combined. Beat in a third of the flour, then the egg and remaining two-thirds flour. Increase speed to medium, and beat until mixture is smooth, pulls away from sides of bowl, and is no longer tacky (add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed), about 3 minutes. Transfer mixture to a lightly floured surface, and knead, adding flour as needed, until a cohesive dough forms (it should no longer stick to your hands), about 5 minutes. Divide dough in half.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roll out half the dough to a little less than 1/4-inch thickness on generously floured parchment. Brush off excess flour, transfer dough on parchment to a baking sheet, and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters, rerolling scraps as needed. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Bake until golden on edges, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating once and firmly rapping baking sheet halfway through baking to flatten any bubbles in cookies. Let cookies cool completely on baking sheets set on wire racks.
  3. Place icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip (Ateco #0, 1, or 2). Pipe outlines and details on cookies. Immediately sprinkle with sanding sugar, and tap off excess. Let set completely at room temperature, at least 4 hours or (ideally) overnight.

Cook's Note

Cookies can be stored at room temperature, between layers of parchment in an airtight container, up to 1 week.