Traditional Spiced Cookies


Gingerbread star cookie cuts, dough

Christmas and fragrant baked goodies go hand in hand. Many families have a version of this recipe for spiced cookies, which delights year after year. You may like to try this one too – for best results, allow the dough to sit overnight for the flavours to develop – you can ice them with your favourite icing, dust them with icing sugar or use commercially prepared royal icing. The recipe makes up to five dozen cookies, depending on the size and shape of your favourite cookie cutters.

You will need:

250 grams butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons molasses
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon sea salt


Preheat oven to 175˚C.

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the egg, mixing well, then beat in the molasses and vanilla.

Sift the flour, baking powder and spices together and add to the butter mixture in three lots, combining well after each addition.

Separate into two pieces, flatten and wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Working with one piece at a time, and keeping the second piece in the refrigerator, roll out on a well-floured board to 3½ mm thick. Working quickly, cut with a biscuit press or cutter to create the design of your choice. The dough is very hard to work with if allowed to become soft.

Place the biscuits on a lined baking tray and chill until firm again. Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on the tray slightly before transferring to a cooling rack.