These Spiced Ginger Cookies with Lemon Glaze are a favorite holiday treat. Rolled in sugar, spiced with ginger and black pepper, and topped with a simple lemon glaze.
Do you have a signature recipe? I love the idea of signature things -a signature color, a signature recipe, a signature perfume, so many possibilities! I think it was Gretchen Rubin that first got me thinking about this when she recommended picking a signature color on her podcast.
I have a friend whose signature color is purple. Everyone who knows her figures this out pretty quickly. She has a purple phone, a purple ipad, a purple purse, purple accessories – if you can buy it in purple, she probably has it. I love this because whenever I see purple things, I think of her. And last year, when I came across a beautiful purple plant at the nursery, I knew just what to get her for her birthday. Signature colors are fun!
Likewise, I’ve recently been re-watching episodes of Desperate Housewives (I know, I know) and Bree Van de Kamp has her signature recipe: Lemon Meringue Pie. She has perfected the recipe and it’s what she always brings to every gathering. Everyone that knows her knows about her Lemon Meringue Pie. This got me thinking about signature recipes.
It feels like a big decision to commit to a signature color and especially a signature recipe. To be honest, I might be a little too indecisive to ever pick just one. But, when it comes to a signature Holiday Recipe, I knew right away that I’d pick these Spiced Ginger Cookies with Lemon Glaze.
I make these Ginger cookies every year in December. If you invite me to a holiday potluck, a cookie exchange, or any other festive gathering, you can bet I’ll have a platter of these Spiced Ginger Cookies with Lemon Glaze. I package them up and deliver them to friends every year and while I’m no Bree Van de Kamp, I’d like to think that the people who know me look forward to my signature Ginger Cookies.
And when it comes to Ginger Cookies, these really are the very best!
A good portion of the credit here goes to the inimitable Dorie Greenspan (whose cookbooks really are my most favorite for baking). Five years ago I tried the Molasses Spice Cookies from Baking: From My Home to Yours and they’ve been on the December menu, in one form or another, ever since.
Over the years and hundreds of cookies later, I’ve changed and tweaked the recipe until the cookies come out just the way I like them. When I added the Lemon Glaze, they immediately became my very favorite cookie. I’ll be making them like this every December until the day I die. They are that good!
About These Spiced Ginger Cookies with Lemon Glaze
As far as holiday baking goes, these cookies are the best of the best. They are the perfect combination of crunchy and chewy. I don’t like a completely crispy cookie – I need at least a little bit of chew. These are crispy as you bite into them, a perfect crunch, then softer on the inside. Delicious!
A generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper gives these cookies just enough kick to keep ’em interesting. It really emphasizes the ginger and adds that “spice” that makes them sparkle.
And speaking of sparkle, I like to roll them in a coarse, large crystal sugar so they do in fact sparkle when they come out of the oven. These are big cookies, just over 3.5 inches wide, so they really are show stoppers.
You can certainly make them without the lemon glaze. I did for years and thoroughly enjoyed them. Then I was drinking a cup of lemon ginger tea one day and remembered how much I love ginger and lemon combined. The rest is history and the lemon glaze with that ginger spice is phenomenal!
Make these Spiced Ginger Cookies with Lemon Glaze Perfect for Gifting
If you just want to make a batch of delicious Ginger Cookies with Lemon Glaze to enjoy with an after dinner bowl of ice cream, then don’t worry a bit about what I say next. However, if you want to have the prettiest cookies on the table, or make something stunning to gift your neighbors, read on.
In order to make these cookies look “perfect” I get a little finicky. But they are my signature cookie (wink), so it’s worth the trouble to me.
Here are my finicky tips for perfect cookies:
- Weigh the dough and divide it evenly
- Weigh each individual ball of dough so the cookies are the exact same size (I make them exactly 1 ounce balls)
- Keep the dough that you aren’t working with in the fridge. After the first hour of refrigeration, I make all the 1 oz dough balls and then stick them all back in the fridge except for the 6 I’m rolling for the pan.
- Roll them in a coarse, large crystal sugar (like Muscovado or Demerara)
- Use a glass dipped in regular white granulated sugar to press the cookie dough balls down
- Don’t put them on the pan until you’re ready to stick them in the oven – they cook better if they stay chilled.
- Only cook 6 cookies at a time so there’s no danger of them crowding into each other on the pan
- Use a silpat
- Don’t glaze the entire cookie. Dip just half or drizzle glaze over the top so you can still enjoy that gorgeous sugared, crackly cookie top.
And now you’re all ready to bake my signature holiday cookie. I hope you enjoy these Spiced Ginger Cookies with Lemon Glaze as much as I do!
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- a generous pinch (or two) of freshly ground black pepper
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) salted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup molasses (not blackstrap)
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- Approximately ½ cup coarse sugar (like Muscovado or Demerara ) for rolling, and another ⅓ to ½ cup granulated white sugar for pressing
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 to 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, spices, and pepper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium-high speed with an electric hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the egg and beat for another minute.
- With the electric mixer on low, slowly add the flour into the butter mixture. Be very careful not to over mix and when the dough starts to get thick, turn off the mixer and finish with a wooden spoon.
- Divide the dough into 2 even pieces. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet (or more than one) with a silpat.
- Put the coarse sugar in a bowl, and the granulated sugar in a separate bowl.
- Working with half the dough at a time, roll the dough into 12 even balls (1 oz each). Roll the balls in the coarse sugar and place on the pan. (I like to cook them 6 at a time so they don't crowd each other on the pan.)
- Dip the bottom of a drinking glass into the granulated sugar and use it to gently press the cookies down until they are about ½ inch thick.
- Bake for 10 to 11 minutes or until the cookies look set. Remove from oven and transfer gently to a wire baking rack to cool.
- Repeat for the remaining dough. You should have 24 cookies (if you don't eat the dough along the way, ha!)
- Whisk together the lemon juice and powdered sugar until completely smooth. I like mine thick so I only use about 3 teaspoons of lemon juice. Dip or drizzle the cookies and then let them sit for a few minutes for the glaze to harden.