The reigning queen of baking shares one of her best cookie recipes with Sweet Paul!

When you start with something really good, it doesn’t take much to make it better. And that’s the story of this cookie. I started with my Do-Almost-Anything Vanilla Cookie Dough, and then I added the spices that always make me think it’s winter: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice. The result is a cookie that’s perfect with coffee or tea, mulled cider, mulled wine, or a late-night cognac. The cookies are nice left plain or sprinkled with sanding sugar before baking, but I usually can’t resist the allure of a spiral of melted white chocolate in the center or a faint brushstroke of chocolate across the top.

Recipes by Dorie Greenspan

Food Styling by Tux Loerzel

Styling by Paul Lowe

Photography by Alexandra Grablewski

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Makes about 80 cookies

1 pound (454 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
11⁄3 cups (262 grams) sugar
Base recipe:
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups (544 grams) all-purpose flour
sanding sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

To make winter spice:
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground allspice
sanding sugar or 1⁄2 cup (85 grams) white chocolate chips, for topping (optional)
  1. Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and salt together on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and blend in the egg whites, followed by the vanilla. The dough might curdle, but it will smooth out with mixing and the addition of the flour.
  2. Still working on low speed, add the flour in 3 or 4 additions, beating only until it is almost incorporated each time before adding more; scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl a couple of times as you work and then continue to mix until the flour has disappeared into the dough.
  3. The dough is ready to be divided, flavored (if needed), and scooped or rolled.
  4. Mix the spices together in a small bowl and, using a flexible spatula, blend them evenly into the dough. Gather the dough together and shape into a disk.
  5. Or, if you’d like to make plain cookies, divide the dough into quarters and shape each piece into a disk. Working with one disk at a time, place the dough between pieces of parchment paper, and roll it to a thickness of 1⁄4 inch. Slide the dough, still between the paper, onto a baking sheet—you can stack the slabs—and freeze for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  6. Place the dough between pieces of parchment paper and roll it to a thickness of 1⁄4 inch. Slide the dough, still between the paper, onto a baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  7. To bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350oF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  8. Peel away the paper on both sides of the dough and return it to one piece of paper. Using a 2-inch-diameter cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can. (You can use any size or shape cutter you like, just know that the yield will be different.) Place them on the lined baking sheet about 11⁄2 inches apart. Gather the scraps together, re-roll them between paper and chill.
  9. . If you’re using sanding sugar, sprinkle the tops of the cookies with it. Bake for 19 to 21 minutes, rotating the sheet after 10 minutes, or until the cookies feel firm to the touch. Transfer the sheet to a rack and let the cookies rest for 5 minutes before lifting them onto the rack to cool to room temperature.
  10. Repeat with the rest of the dough, making sure your baking sheet is cool.
  11. If you want to give the cookies a spiral or swipe of white chocolate, melt the chocolate in a microwave or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
  12. For the spiral, use a small pastry bag fitted with a tiny decorating tip or drizzle the chocolate off the tip of a small spoon. For the swipe, use a narrow pastry brush and only a little bit of chocolate and brush it across the cookie lightly.
  13. Refrigerate the cookies for about 20 minutes just to set the decoration.
  14. To store: The rolled-out dough can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. The cookies will keep in a covered container at room temperature for up to 1 week. They can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months.


A word on batch size: This recipe uses one quarter of the Do-Almost-Anything Vanilla Cookie Dough. Make the full recipe of the dough then, if you’d like, you can double, triple, or quadruple this cookie recipe or use the vanilla dough to make other cookies.

The reigning queen of baking shares one of her best cookie recipes with Sweet Paul!
Photography by Alexandra Grablewski

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