Makes 3 1/2 dozen / Preparation tip: Currants make good eyes, noses, and buttons; place on cookies before baking. Or decorate with all-natural colored sprinkles, then bake.

  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • Icing (optional)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon or vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tablespoons water

1. In a medium bowl, combine flours, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and butter; beat on medium speed for 2–3 minutes until thoroughly combined and fluffy. Add molasses and egg and blend. Add flour mixture to molasses mixture; beat on low until blended. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic. Chill for 1–2 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 350°. On a floured board, roll dough into a 1/4-inch-thick circle. Cut out cookies with a cutter. Place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Decorate with candies and currants, if desired. Bake for 7–8 minutes until firm. Let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

4. To make icing, combine powdered sugar and lemon or vanilla extract. Add 3 tablespoons water and stir. If necessary, add an additional tablespoon of water until a spreadable paste forms. Use a piping cloth (or zip-top plastic bag with one corner snipped) to decorate cooled cookies.

PER SERVING (1 cookie): 57 cal, 26% fat cal, 2g fat, 1g sat fat, 9mg chol, 1g protein, 10g carb, 0g fiber, 30mg sodium