Spicy Molasses Gingerbread People

Spicy Molasses Gingerbread People
Iain Bagwell
30 Minutes
2 Hours, 10 Minutes


Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies (serving size: 1 cookie)

We gave the traditional gingerbread cookies a kick with warm spices, orange and lemon zests, and the deep flavor of molasses. The icing is made with meringue powder, which can be found at craft or baking supply stores.



  • 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 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cold salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 4 to 6 teaspoons water

How to Make

  1. Prepare the Cookies: Whisk together molasses, egg, and egg yolk in a bowl.
  2. 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.
  3. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead until mixture comes together, 5 to 6 times. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a 4-inch disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill 1 hour or up to 2 days.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Unwrap 1 dough disk, and roll to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut with a 5- x 3-inch cookie cutter, rerolling scraps once. Place 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until set, 11 to 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.
  6. Prepare the Icing: 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.