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+ servings
Spicy Gingerbread Cookies with Lemon Icing
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Dough chilling time
3 hrs
These spicy gingerbread cookies with lemon icing are perfectly sweet, with lots of depth from molasses and heat from a mix of cinnamon, chili powder, and fresh ground pepper.
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gingerbread
Makes: 4 dozen
Author: Elizabeth Stark
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup cane or turbinado sugar
  • 1 room temperature egg
  • 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 - 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and powder, sea salt, and spices. Set aside.
  2. In another large bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar, and beat for another 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and then the molasses, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. With mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined.
  3. Divide into 2 discs, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill for at least three hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Move a rack to the center of the oven.
  5. Between two sheets of lightly floured parchment, roll out one of the dough portions to ¼-inch thickness. Place paper and dough on a cookie sheet, and freeze for 15 minutes.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment paper. Use lightly floured cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes, and arrange on cookie sheet. Bake gingerbread cookies 10 minutes, (if you prefer snappier gingerbread or are using it for a house, bake 12 minutes total). Cool 10 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to a rack to cool completely.
  7. Continue this process for each batch, baking one tray of cookies at a time.
  8. To make the icing, whisk to combine the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Whisk in additional lemon juice just until icing relaxes and just drips off a spoon. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe frosting onto cookies. Let frosting dry for 2 hours before stacking or sealing cookies.
  9. Cookies will keep well in an airtight container for several days. Wrap cookies in plastic wrap and freeze for longer storage.