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Gingersnap Snowflakes

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 24 cookies.

I wanted to capture the flavor of gingersnaps in a cookie that I could roll out and cut into festive shapes. Every Christmas, I make these with my niece and nephew, who love to cut them into snowflakes. After we bake them, I fill a couple of pastry bags with the icing and let the kids go to town.


For the cookies

  • 13-1/2 oz. (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the decoration

  • 1/2 lb. (2 cups plus 2 Tbs.) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2-1/2 Tbs. meringue powder
  • Blue food coloring
  • Edible silver dragées

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size per cookie
  • Calories (kcal) : 170
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 30
  • Fat (g): 3.5
  • Saturated Fat (g): 2
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Cholesterol (mg): 15
  • Sodium (mg): 125
  • Carbohydrates (g): 34
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 2


Make the cookies

  • In a large bowl, whisk the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the molasses, egg, and vanilla until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined.

    Divide the dough in half, shape into two balls, and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 8 hours.

    Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.

    Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it on a lightly floured piece of parchment until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Put the parchment and dough onto another cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut out cookies with a 5-inch snowflake cookie cutter. Remove excess dough from around the cutouts and transfer them with a spatula to the prepared sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. You can gather and reroll the scraps up to 2 times.

    Bake one sheet at a time until the cookies begin to darken around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes.

    Cool on the sheet on a rack for about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies directly to the rack and cool completely.

Decorate the cookies

  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the confectioners’ sugar, meringue powder, and 1/4 cup cold water on low speed until blended. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the icing holds thick, soft peaks, 3 to 4 minutes. Test the icing’s consistency by piping a small amount through a piping bag fitted with a straight #2 tip. If it’s too thick, add a few drops of water to the mixture in the bowl. If the icing seems too runny, add confectioners’ sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating on low speed to blend. Don’t over-beat, or the icing will stiffen and lose its gloss. Keep the icing covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap until ready to use, and use the icing the same day it’s made.

    Put about three-quarters of the icing in a clean 1-quart container. Put the remaining icing in a small container and tint with the blue food coloring. (Stir in coloring a bit at a time until the desired shade is reached.)

    Put a small amount of the white icing in a piping bag fitted with a straight #2 tip and pipe the outline of the cookie.

    Stir water, a few drops at a time, into the remaining white icing until the icing no longer stays peaked when piped but creates a smooth surface. To test, put a small amount in another piping bag with a #2 tip (the icing will drip, so have a cloth ready). Fill in the lines on each cookie, allow the icing to spread, and be careful not to overfill—use a small paintbrush to help spread the icing if necessary. Let the cookies air dry until the icing is set; 2 to 3 hours.

    When the white icing is completely dry, put the blue icing in a clean piping bag fitted with a #2 tip and pipe branched lines connecting opposite tips of the snowflakes. Decorate with dragées while the blue icing is wet.


Rate or Review


  • JSBuck | 01/02/2012

    This wasn't the easiest cookie recipe but it was certainly worth it! I tend to prefer one-bowl, toss-it-all-in, type recipes with as few steps as possible but this was a lot of fun to make and they were a HUGE hit with family, neighbors, co-workers and especially the kids! I don't tend to ice my cookies but these were show-stoppers and so yummy. Not sure what the other reviewer did but the dough was perfect - not flaky at all. Highly recommend!

  • prezlnielsen | 12/05/2010

    Family LOVED them and kept going back for more! Brought them into work, and my work loved them! The recipe ended up making 40+ cookies!I accidently doubled the icing recipe - I also made it with dried eggwhites (which lacks a few of the ingredients of Meringue. Took awhile for the "inner" layer of the icing to toughen up.I really don't know what the other reviewer did, but these cookies were not flaky. They came out very moist, and had quite the bite to them. I wasn't able to find a snowflake cookie cutter, so I instead did different xmas shapes, and iced them with different colours! They looked beautiful!

  • rotangus | 12/13/2009

    Very disappointing. Experienced cookie baker followed method exactly. Only substitution we did was using 1/4 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder instead of ground cloves. Dough was way too flaky, dry and crumbly to roll out into cuttable shapes. However we salvaged the experience, turning it into a pat-into-pan crust for pumpkin pie, and that worked quite well. Flavor of dough was excellent though.

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