Kristen Payne

“Bring the best holiday cookies to your cookie swap this year! We have you covered with so many wonderful recipes—it’s time to start baking!”

— Kristen Payne, Southern Living

Spicy Molasses Gingerbread People



1/4 cup dark molasses
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 tsp orange zest
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup cold salted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces


1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp meringue powder
4 to 6 tsp water



Whisk together molasses, egg, and egg yolk in a bowl.
Process flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, ginger, lemon zest, orange zest, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking soda in a food processor until well-combined, about 1 minute.
Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand, 5 to 6 times.
Add molasses mixture; pulse until mixture begins to clump, 5 to 6 times.
Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until mixture comes together, 5 to 6 times.
Divide dough in half; shape each half into a 4" disk.
Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Unwrap one dough disk, and roll to 1/4" thickness on a lightly floured surface.
Cut with a 5" x 3" cookie cutter, rerolling scraps once.
Place 1" apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
Bake in preheated oven until set, 11 to 12 minutes, switching pans top rack to bottom rack halfway through baking.
Cool on pans 2 minutes; remove cookies to wire racks, and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough disk.


Beat powdered sugar, meringue powder, and 4 teaspoons of the water on medium speed in a medium bowl until well combined, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add up to 2 teaspoons water, 1/4 teaspoon at a time, beating until desired consistency is reached.
Spread icing on cookies, and decorate as desired.

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