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Credit: Joy Howard

Recipe Summary

1 hr
1 hr 50 mins
35 mins
2 dozen

The shape of these cookies isn't the only thing that makes them a deliciously unconventional. The addition of dark cocoa powder gives them a rich chocolatey flavor that pairs perfectly with the warm spices of traditional gingerbread—cinnamon, clove, and of course, ginger. In addition, the cookies are embellished with a simple glaze that's a less fussy alternative to royal icing and can be made with just a few ingredients. For the best results, cover the dough with a sheet of parchment paper when you roll it out. It's not essential, but it will ensure the cookies have a nice smooth surface for decorating.  




Instructions Checklist
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment and set on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to incorporate. Mix in the molasses. Reduce the mixer's speed to low and blend in the flour mixture one-third at a time.

  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Roll it into a ball and flatten into a disk. Cover with plastic and refrigerate 1 hour.

  • Heat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough to ¼-inch thickness. Use tree-shaped cookie cutters to shape the dough and arrange the cookies on the baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Gather and reroll the dough as needed.

  • Bake the cookies until set and turning them once halfway through, about 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat if needed, with the remaining dough.

  • Place the confectioner's sugar, corn syrup, and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a whisk attachment and set on low speed. Blend until smooth. If the icing is too thick, more milk can be added 1 teaspoon at a time. Tint with food coloring if using, as desired, and place in a piping bag fit with a writing tip.

  • Decorate the cookies with icing and let it set before serving.