Kids will love these sweet notes made of gingerbread. Use royal icing to create an envelope design or address the letter to Santa directly.

Martha Stewart Living, December 2017


Credit: Louise Hagger

Recipe Summary

40 mins
3 hrs 35 mins
Makes about 30


Royal Icing


Instructions Checklist
  • Cookies: Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.

  • Combine butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition and scraping down bowl as needed. Beat in molasses. Add flour mixture and beat on low until just combined. Divide dough in thirds; form each into a flat rectangle and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick between lightly floured sheets of parchment, flipping and lifting off parchment occasionally to avoid sticking. Transfer to a baking sheet; chill 30 minutes. Cut into 3-by-2 1/4-inch rectangles. Chill until firm, 15 minutes.

  • Bake until crisp but not dark, about 14 minutes. Halfway through baking, lift up sheet and bang on oven rack to flatten cookies. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

  • Royal Icing: Beat confectioners' sugar, meringue powder, and a scant 1/4 cup water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until smooth, about 7 minutes. If icing is too thick, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time; if too thin, beat icing for 2 to 3 minutes more, or add more sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Use immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature overnight; stir before using. (Makes about 2 1/2 cups.)

  • Transfer icing to a piping bag fitted with a very small round tip (such as Ateco #1 or #2). Pipe designs on cookies. Let cookies stand at room temperature until set, at least 2 hours (preferably overnight).