Kids and adults alike will love these festive cookies.

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Credit: Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl Jones

Recipe Summary test

active:
45 mins
chill:
1 hr
bake:
25 mins
cool:
1 hr 5 mins
stand:
6 hrs
total:
9 hrs 15 mins
Yield:
2½ dozen
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You may be used to dry, brittle gingerbread characters that've been sitting out on the counter for days—pretty to look at, but unpleasant to eat. But this year, we're making gingerbread that you'll actually want to eat right off the cookie sheet. With the help of a not-so-secret ingredient—chocolate—gingerbread gets a new name this holiday season. Our Chocolate Gingerbread Wreath Cookies make a festive addition to any holiday cookie tin or platter.

Rich dark chocolate cocoa powder and a circular shape give this classic a new twist. The royal icing used to decorate the cookies starts with meringue powder, which makes it a little less fussy than recipes that call for real eggs. We recommend applying the icing using a piping bag with a writing tip, but if you don't have one, a plastic sandwich bag with a tiny corner snipped off will do. Find our complete guide to cookie decorating here.

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Whisk together flour, cocoa, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Beat in molasses. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add flour mixture, one-third at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. 

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  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few times until smooth. Roll dough into a ball, and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill 1 hour. 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough to ¼-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into circles using a 2½- to 3-inch round cookie cutter. Cut middle out of each dough circle using a 1-inch round cookie cutter. Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Gather and reroll dough as needed. 

  • Place 1 baking sheet of cookies in refrigerator until ready to bake. Bake remaining baking sheet in preheated oven until cookies are set and lightly browned on bottom, about 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet from front to back halfway through bake time. Let cool on baking sheet on wire rack 5 minutes; transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, repeat procedure with remaining baking sheet of cookies. 

  • Beat powdered sugar, meringue powder, and 3 tablespoons water with a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium-high speed until fluffy and slightly stiff. Add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if needed, for desired consistency. Stir in desired amount of food coloring, and spoon into a piping bag fitted with a writing tip. 

  • Decorate 1 cookie at a time. Pipe icing on each in a spiral pattern, and top with desired amount of sprinkles. Repeat with remaining cookies, icing, and sprinkles. Let stand until icing is set, about 6 hours. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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