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This recipe can be used to make the edible puzzles and reindeer cookies.

Photography: Annie Schlechter

Source: Martha Stewart Kids


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup unsulfured molasses

For decorating edible puzzles

For decorating reindeer cookies

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup sanding sugar
  • 26 white-chocolate chips (about 1/3 cup)
  • 16 red mini candy-coated chocolates
  • 5 small white gumdrops


  1. Sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a medium bowl; set aside.

  2. Mix butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes; mix in spices and salt. Mix in egg and molasses, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Add flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined. Divide dough in half; pat into two disks. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.

  4. To make puzzles, cut rolled dough into six rectangles, each 6 by 9 inches (reroll scraps once). Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet; refrigerate until firm, 20 to 30 minutes. Bake until cookies are set and edges are just starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. While cookies are hot, use a pizza cutter or paring knife to cut out desired puzzle shapes. Carefully lift edges of parchment to keep puzzle pieces together; transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely.

  5. Fit a pastry bag with a 5/16-inch plain round tip (such as Ateco #3); fill with 1/2 cup untinted royal icing. Tie end with a rubber band; to prevent icing from drying out, stand bag, tip down, in a glass with a damp paper towel in the bottom. Tint remaining icing as desired; fill another pastry bag the same way.

  6. Outline each puzzle piece with tinted icing; fill outlined area with more icing, smoothing with an offset spatula to make a thin layer. Let dry completely, about 1 hour. Keeping pieces together, use untinted icing to outline the shape of a tree (design should overlap all pieces); decorate area inside outline as desired. One at a time, lift each piece; sprinkle with sanding sugar, tapping off any excess. Let dry 1 hour; package in boxes, or store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

  7. To make reindeer, use a 4 3/4-inch gingerbread-man cutter to make cookies (scraps can be rerolled once). For gift tags, cut with letter-shaped cookie cutters, and poke a hole with a straw. Transfer to baking sheets, and refrigerate until firm, 20 to 30 minutes. Bake until cookies are firm but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

  8. Melt semisweet chips in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; let cool slightly, and transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 7/16-inch plain round tip (such as Ateco #5). Pipe face and antlers with chocolate; sprinkle antlers with sanding sugar, tapping off any excess. Use white chocolate chips for eyes; pipe melted chocolate onto chips for pupils. Use red candy-coated chocolates for noses. Cut gumdrops lengthwise into 6 equal pieces; place one piece on each ear.

Reviews Add a comment

  • Sewsirius
    4 NOV, 2011
    To the previous reviewer, you can find the pictures for the edible puzzles on the handmade gifts for kids gallery in the Christmas area? It was the link from that gallery that led me to this recipe. Thanks for letting us know it's a dark gingerbread, it's one of the many delicious biscuits my kids don't like so I guess that's more for me!
  • vatterpa
    12 DEC, 2010
    This is a very dark gingerbread. If you like very sweet or light colored gingerbread, use another recipe. I think that these are the cutest little cookies. I made mine with a 2.5 inch cutter, so my nephew (3) could take them for snack at preschool. So Cute!!! I would have liked a picture of the puzzle cookies.