…I’m the gingerbread person of questionable nutrition but nonetheless a delicious breakfast choice.

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After promising myself last month that I’d be spare with my Christmas baking, that others around me would also be making tasty and waist-thickening treats and then delivering them to my kitchen, I have, once again, failed. December, apparently, is filled with broken promises, and they taste like gingerbread (and mince pies and shortbread and never mind). But there are kids in the house! Kids love gingerbread cookies, right? Well, the one kid that’s on solid food does, anyway.

So I’m backing up my decision with the fact that three-year-olds love crafts, especially ones that involve decorating and eating said crafts. And crafts that are Christmas-inspired, well. Just call me Martha. [I’ll be honest. As a parent, there is a much greater chance I’ll participate in/oversee crafting of edibles than non-edibles. It’s craft and snack in one! Why would I waste my time on cardboard or glitter?]

Ahem. And so.

I’ve found a recipe that makes dark, seductive cookies that are not too sweet and go well with any amount of icing–or none at all. The recipe calls for the normal rolling out of the dough on a floured surface but I tried to make things easier and less messy by doing the old wax paper sheet trick. It ended up being more time-consuming and annoying than rolling out with flour because the dough was fairly sticky and soft. I resorted to putting the sheets of dough between wax paper (with cookies cut out but not removed yet) in the freezer to firm them up and still it was a tense situation at times. So you can decide which avenue you take there.

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Gingerbread People

Adapted from this recipe



3  cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2  teaspoons ground ginger  (or more; some like it hot)

1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground coriander seed

6  tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1  large egg

1/2 cup molasses

2  teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest


Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two or three cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, coriander and cloves until well blended.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or by hand if you are very strong) beat first butter and brown sugar, and then egg on medium speed until well blended. Add molasses, vanilla, and lemon zest and continue to mix until fully incorporated. Gradually add dry ingredients until blended and smooth.

Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic and let stand at room temperature for an hour or more.

Place 1 portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle flour over dough and rolling pin. Roll dough to a scant 1/4-inch thick. Use more flour to avoid sticking. Cut out your shapes with cookie cutters to suit your holiday inclinations.

Space cookies 1 1/2-inches apart on the cookie sheets and bake for 7-10 minutes, depending on how soft/crunchy you want them. Let cool on a rack before decorating with abandon.