At first glance these may look kind of simple, but these spice cookies are hiding lots of flavor inside. They are not as snappy as gingersnaps, but they still pack a nice punch of warm spices. There’s a tiiiiny bit of cayenne in there to wake things up but doesn’t actually taste spicy, so don’t leave it out! What makes them pretty (and delicious) is rolling in coarse raw demerara sugar and spices before baking. If you can’t get your hands on this fancier sugar, white sugar works just fine—they just won’t sparkle as much and the outside won’t have as much of a crunchy texture.
NOTE: These cookies are part of Cravings’ One Dough, Three Holiday Cookies story, so the base sugar cookie dough makes three different cookies. You only need ⅓ of the dough to make Spice Cookies—the rest makes Ombré Iced Sugar Cookies and Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies.
- 4 ¼ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 ¼ cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup demerara (raw cane sugar), white sugar, or a combination of both
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
Make the Base Sugar Cookie Dough:
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until fluffy and creamy, stopping the mixer and scraping down the sides midway if you have to, 3–4 minutes. Stop the mixer, then add the eggs and vanilla, return to medium speed and beat until creamy, 2 minutes. Stop the mixer, add the dry ingredients, then turn on the mixer to low and beat until everything is incorporated, being careful not to overwork the dough. Divide the dough into three equal-sized pieces.
Make the Spice Cookies:
Take one piece of dough and before chilling, add ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, and ⅛ teaspoon each ground cayenne and ground nutmeg (you can do this in the stand mixer or by hand). Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Roll each piece into a ball, and then roll the cookies in the sugar mixture. Arrange three inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets and press with the center of your palm into a 2-inch round. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, 10–11 minutes. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to four days.