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In the season of no-time, cookie-exchange clubs are forming faster than you can feed them into your junk mail. Whether you succumb and join or simply want to do some holiday baking, you don't have to be a pastry whiz. These cookies do require measuring (doable right?) but only one bowl (think of it as your cookie Zen garden) then you just roll out and grab the cookie cutter – and that part is kids' play.

Servings: Makes about 24 large or 48 small


2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter

1/2 cup dark molasses

1 egg


Butter needs to soften in advance for about 1 hour out of the fridge. If dough has sat overnight remove, from fridge 45 minutes before rolling.

Into a medium mixing bowl add 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix to combine, then add the spices: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Mix again to combine all the dry. Now add 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter (1 stick), 1/2 cup dark molasses and one egg. With an electric mixer on low, combine until you form a dough (knead with your hands near the end to finish if necessary) and form into a small rectangle. Cut into two pieces, wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove from fridge. Lightly flour a smooth surface (and your rolling pin) and roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch. (If it crumbles a bit, just push it together lightly with your fingers to warm it up.) Cut out your cookies and place on a greased cookie tray. Bake at 350 F on the middle rack for about 6-8 minutes (start with 6) or until the cookies are browning. They will firm up as they cool. Decorate – store-bought icing is fine.