Frosting gingerbread cookies might be an annual tradition, but this year, we suggest you break it. Instead, try weaving pieces of dough into a lattice and then cutting the cookies from the woven strands. Look at it this way: The time you would’ve spent decorating is spent weaving—and the result is a hundred times more sophisticated.
We used a round, fluted cookie cutter for a simple design, but feel free to get as festive as you want with the shape of these treats. (Stars or diamonds would be cute too.) And if you absolutely insist on adding icing (no judgment), a simple confectioners’ sugar glaze never hurt anything.
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup unsulphured molasses
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and molasses until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg, egg white and vanilla extract and mix to combine, scraping the side of the bowl well to make sure everything is incorporated.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and salt to combine.
3. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture; mix until the dough comes together and is smooth, about 1 minute. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to ½-inch thick. Cut the dough into ¼-inch-wide strips (the length can be however long the dough is).
5. Place half the strips vertically side by side on your work surface; set aside the remaining strips. Starting with the leftmost strip, lift every other strip and fold it back onto itself, folding about halfway. Lay one of the reserved dough strips horizontally across the vertical strips you didn’t touch so it lines up against the folds of the folded strips. Bring each folded strip back down over the horizontal strip. Repeat the process, this time starting with the second strip from the left and lifting every other one. Continue until you’ve created a wide piece of lattice. Weave tightly—you don’t want large spaces in the dough. (See more information on how to make a lattice.)
6. Using a circle cookie cutter (or the rim of a drinking glass), cut rounds from the latticed dough. The pressing motion of the cookie cutter should seal the edges of the lattice on each cookie. If it doesn’t, press lightly on the edges with your fingers. (You can reroll the dough scraps up to three times to make more cookies.)
7. Carefully transfer the cookies to parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until golden at the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely before serving (or gifting).