Makes about three dozen 2-inch cookies or two dozen 3-inch cookies
This simple holiday cookie dough can be sliced and baked straight from the refrigerator or rolled and cut using your favorite cutters. A spiced glaze seals the deal as an easy decorating tip. (Double the glaze recipe for dipping cookies.)
For the cookie dough:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- ½ cup unsulfured molasses
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the glaze and finishing:
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus additional as needed
- 1 tablespoon milk, plus additional as needed
- sanding sugar, for decorating
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar using an electric mixer until the butter is light and creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Scrape down the bowl and add the egg. Beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the molasses and vanilla and bet until well combined, about 1 minute longer.
- Scrape down the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until incorporated. Divide the dough into two equal portions.
For slice-and-bake cookies:
- Shape each portion of dough roughly into a log on a piece of parchment or waxed paper. Refrigerate 45 minutes until the dough begins to firm up, then continue shaping the dough into a log about 2-inch diameter. Wrap the log of dough in the parchment or waxed paper and refrigerate until very firm, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position. Line three 13-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mats. Unwrap the chilled log of dough and roll in sanding sugar to coat. Slice into ¼-inch thick cookies and arrange of the prepared baking sheets about 1 ½-inches apart.
- Bake the cookies one tray at a time until firm to the touch and the bottoms are golden brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer to wire cooling racks to cool completely.
For rolled cookie cutouts:
- Shape each portion of dough into a ball on a piece of parchment or waxed paper and flatten into a disc about 1-inch thick. Wrap the dough in the paper and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position. Line two 13-by-18-inch baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Working with one portion of dough at a time, on a lightly floured work surface, roll into a disc about ¼-inch thick. Cut with your favorite cookie cutters and arrange on the prepared baking sheets, about 1 ½-inches apart. (Do not combine different sized cutouts on the same baking sheet.) Gather any scraps of dough, flatten into a disc, wrap, and refrigerate about 30 minutes before rolling and cutting additional cookies.
- Bake the cookies one tray at a time until they are firm to the touch and the bottoms are golden brown, about 12 minutes, depending on their size. Transfer to wire cooling racks to cool completely.
For the glaze and finishing:
- Using a rasp grater or zester, grate the ginger onto a piece of sturdy paper towel or cheese cloth. Squeeze the ginger through the towel or cloth into a small bowl, extracting its juice (you should have about 1 teaspoon). Discard the solids.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar and milk and stir to combine. Adjust the glaze with additional confectioners’ sugar or milk until it’s the consistency of honey for drizzling. Loosen the glaze slightly for dipping.
- To drizzle: Arrange the cookies on a wire rack and spoon the glaze in diagonal lines. To dip: Transfer the glaze to a wide bowl. Dip the top of the cookies in the glaze and allow the excess to drip off before arranging on wire racks. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, if desired. Allow the glaze to dry for at least 2 hours before serving.