For the Cookie dough:

1⁄2 cup brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes (room temperature)
1⁄2 cup robust molasses
1⁄3 cup cold water
31⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄4 teaspoon salt

For the Royal Icing:

4 large egg whites
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
6 cups of confectioner’s sugar


For the cookies:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the brown sugar, butter, molasses, and water on medium speed until combined. Lightly beat in the rest of the ingredients. Shape dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Generously sprinkle your work surface with flour. Cut dough in half or quarters and using your rolling pin, roll out to 1⁄4 inch thickness (be sure to keep unused dough in plastic until ready to use).

With cookie cutters, cut as many as you can get out of “a roll” and place on cookie sheet lined with Silpat or parchment paper. For hanging, remember to cut a hole in cookies that have no cutouts. Keep the cookies at least 1 inch apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove cookies from pan and place onto cooling rack. When completely cooled (it’s time for a taste test), they’re ready to be decorated with the Royal Icing.

For the icing:

In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice. Add the sugar and beat on low speed until smooth. If the consistency seems too thick, add a little water; if it seems thin, add a little sugar. Load into piping bag with an icing tip, or in a pinch, a ziptop bag with a corner snipped off. The icing dries very quickly, so use immediately or store in an airtight container.