Spiced Sugar Cookie Cut-Out

Kristen Leonard’s recipe adds extra oomph to the traditional sugar cookie, thanks to a chai-like spice mixture that includes ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom and black pepper. These cookies are incredibly versatile — you can cut them into any shape and gussy them up however you’d like — and for Leonard, they’re a childhood favorite: “I would make them with my mom as a kid during the holidays,” says the Mooo pastry chef. “We would decorate them with as many different types of sprinkles and every frosting color you can imagine, and then gift them to our older relatives.”

See more holiday cookie recipes here.


for the cookies
  • 12 ounces butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons spice mix
for the spice mix
  • 4 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons & 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 4 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients for the spice mix into a small bowl and stir until well combined.
  3. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides and bottom as you go.
  4. Slowly add the eggs and vanilla extract. Again, scraping the sides of the bowl.
  5. Slowly add the flour, baking powder, salt, and spice mix to the bowl. Mix only until just combined.
  6. Chill your dough until firm enough to roll out.
  7. Roll your dough to desired thickness (1/4 inch is usually good). Cut out the cookies into desired shapes and put them on a parchment lined sheet pan. Bake cookies for 6-8 minutes or until the edges are just starting to turn golden brown.
  8. Be sure to completely cool your cookies before icing them!

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