Gingerbread Skeleton Cookies

by Kristen Evans Dittami|August 2013 for Real

Yield: 24 Cookies

Gingerbread Skeleton Cookies
Photo by Joseph De Leo


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for the work surface
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 recipe Easy Royal Icing


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, dark brown and granulated sugars until smooth. Add the molasses and egg and beat until combined and creamy, scrapping down the bowl as necessary, about 2 minutes.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Shape into two disks. Wrap disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
  4. Heat oven to 350 ° F. On a well-floured surface, working with one disk at a time, roll the dough to ¼ inch thick. Transfer to two parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut into shapes using cookie cutters (brush off excess flour with a dry pastry brush) and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Bake until firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  6. Transfer the royal icing to a piping bag or a resealable plastic freezer bag (snip a small hole in the corner of the freezer bag). Decorate cookies as desired and let set.  (For straight lines, hold the tip of the tube ¼ inch above the cookie and let the icing drop down.) To make skeletons, first draw the eyes and mouth, then the spine with ribs, and finally the arm and leg bones.


Easy Royal Icing Recipe

Easy Royal Icing
Photo by Joseph De Leo

Yield: 1 cup (approximately enough to frost 36 cookies)


  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 large egg white, or equivalent amount of dried egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon water or lemon juice


  1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, egg white, and water or lemon juice. Mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon, until the icing is thickened and smooth, about 2 minutes.
  2. The icing will keep up to 2 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Before using, beat it with a fork. Stir in very small amounts of water if it seems too thick.