Sweetened mostly with brown sugar and spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom, these stamped cookies are just as flavorful as they are beautiful. If you’ve never stamped cookies before, see all of my cookie stamping success tips below. You’ll need a set of cookie stamps for this, and I use these cookie stamps for the pictured cookies.
Here’s a gorgeous cookie that requires zero decorating skills. I’m always up for that!
This recipe is part of my annual holiday cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. Every year since 2013, I work on a handful of new cookie recipes and publish the 10 best ones for readers to enjoy. It’s the biggest, tastiest event of the year on my website!
Tell Me About These Cinnamon Brown Sugar Stamped Cookies:
- Texture: The centers are a little soft, but the edges have a crunchy crumbly texture that you don’t always get with soft-baked cookies. They remind me of these crisp molasses cookies, but aren’t quite as crunchy. If you’re looking for a chewy cookie instead, these brown sugar cookies are for you.
- Flavor: There’s a glaring absence of chocolate, sprinkles, and candies, but I wouldn’t necessarily call these stamped cookies plain. They’re sweetened mostly with brown sugar and are generously spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom. A bit of molasses, honey, or maple syrup (your choice) adds a touch of flavor too. They remind me of Biscoff (Belgian Speculoos) cookies. Sometimes a simple cookie without all the excess fluff is what really hits the spot. They’re fantastic dipped in hot cocoa or coffee!
- Ease: This is a pretty standard cookie recipe—no crazy ingredients or mixing methods. The only thing we’re doing differently is stamping the dough balls before baking. You’ll appreciate that there’s no extra decoration required. The stamp does it all.
- Time: Set aside enough time to chill the cookie dough. I know it’s a drag, but 2 hours in the refrigerator firms up the dough. If you skip it, the cookies will over-spread and the beautiful stamped design will be ruined—wasting all your efforts and ingredients. If you’re doing a bunch of holiday baking at once, you can use the chilling time to make a quick cookie recipe like my shortbread wedges that bake in a cake pan! No chilling required for those.
Can You Make These Without a Cookie Stamp?
Yes. Follow the recipe exactly as written but skip the stamping step. Simply bake as round cookie dough balls, like you would any other drop cookie. You can even roll in cinnamon sugar or chai sugar before baking, just like we do with snickerdoodles and white chocolate chai snickerdoodles. (In fact! I actually did that with a few of these pictured stamped cookies, but the stamp just pressed the cinnamon sugar down into the cookie and you can’t really see it after baking.
I don’t recommend these as cut-out cookies. If you want to use your rolling pin, stick with sugar cookies, chocolate sugar cookies, maple cinnamon star cookies, gingerbread cookies, or pecan sugar cookies.
Overview: How to Make Stamped Cookies
The full printable recipe is below, but this overview should help you understand the process before you get started.
- Make the cookie dough. This is a pretty straightforward recipe. Whisk your dry ingredients together including the spices. Cream the butter and both sugars together, then add 1 Tablespoon of molasses/honey/maple syrup, an egg, and vanilla extract. Liquid sweetener slightly thins out the dough. I used molasses in the pictured cookies, but honey or pure maple syrup work too. Bring the dough together by combining the wet and dry ingredients.
- Chill the cookie dough. I’m a broken record here. Don’t skip the chilling step!
- Roll dough into balls. Measure 1 Tablespoon of chilled cookie dough per cookie and roll into balls. Feel free to roll the cookies in cinnamon sugar, just like we do with snickerdoodles, but know that the sugar coating gets stamped right down into the cookie. I did that for some of the pictured cookies and you can’t even see it!
- Stamp the dough balls. Grab your cookie stamps. I used Nordic Ware’s “starry night” cookie stamps for the pictured cookies. Place the cookie stamp directly on top of each cookie dough ball, centering the ball as best as you can, then firmly press down until the dough extends nearly to the edges of the cookie stamp. Lift straight up. Most cookie doughs, including this one, are a little sticky. That’s expected. If your cookie dough is sticking to the cookie stamp (mine does!), lightly dip the cookie stamp in a bowl of flour before stamping the cookie dough ball. If dipped lightly, the flour bakes right off the cookie.
- Bake. Remember one of my cookie baking success tips? Use your eyes as the timer, not the clock. Cookies are done when the edges are set.
One Thing to Note: Cookies naturally puff up and spread out in the oven, so the design will never be quite as defined on a baked cookie. You can see how defined they are above (before baking) compared to below (after baking).
Success Tips for Stamped Cookies
I include most of these above, but let me summarize each. It’s important to remember that the amount of definition your stamped design holds depends on the recipe, how firm the cookie dough is, and the stamp you use. Like I mention above, cookies naturally puff up and spread out in the oven, so the design will never be quite as defined on a baked cookie.
- Recipe: Not all cookie doughs are ideal for cookie stamps. Avoid using cookie stamps on thick and fluffy cookies, which will likely puff up in the oven instead of holding onto the stamped design. Follow the recipe as written below because it yields a relatively flat cookie. Additionally, darker cookies show the stamped design better than lighter cookies.
- Place the Stamp Centered Over the Dough: Center the stamp as best you can on top of the cookie dough ball before pressing down.
- Flour Your Cookie Stamp: Cookie dough can stick to the stamp. Dip your cookie stamp in flour before stamping. If dipped lightly, the flour bakes right off the stamped cookies.
- Firm Cookie Dough: Don’t skip chilling this cookie dough. You could even chill the stamped cookies before baking. It wouldn’t hurt to stamp the dough balls, preheat the oven, then chill the stamped cookies in the refrigerator as your oven preheats.
- Stamp: There’s really no way of knowing how well your cookie stamp works until you test it out. This isn’t sponsored, but I’m a genuine fan of Nordic Ware cookie stamps. They’re good quality, heavy duty, and work wonderfully. I used the Starry Night ones in these photos. (You can find them online and some stores including Williams-Sonoma and Target.)
Sweetened mostly with brown sugar and spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom, these stamped cookies are just as flavorful as they are beautiful. Chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Feel free to skip the cookie stamp and bake them as round cookie dough balls.
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled), plus extra as needed for stamping
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp; 113g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) unsulphured or dark molasses (do not use blackstrap; I prefer Grandma’s brand), maple syrup, or honey
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the softened butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla extract and mix on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again as needed.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, then mix on low speed until combined. Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (and up to 4 days). If chilling for longer than a few hours, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before rolling because the dough will be quite hard.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Roll and stamp: Measure 1 Tablespoon of chilled cookie dough per cookie and roll into balls. The dough may seem crumbly, but will come together as you roll. Arrange dough balls 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Place the cookie stamp directly on top of each cookie dough ball, centering the ball as best as you can, then firmly press down until the dough extends nearly to the edges of the cookie stamp. Lift straight up. If your cookie dough is sticking to the cookie stamp (mine does!), lightly dip the cookie stamp in a bowl of flour before stamping the cookie dough ball. If dipped lightly, the flour bakes right off the cookie.
- Bake cookies until the edges are set, about 13 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Cover leftover cookies tightly and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (step 3). Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw completely at room temperature, then stamp and bake as directed in the recipe. Read my tips and tricks on how to freeze cookie dough.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Glass Mixing Bowl | Whisk | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Baking Sheets | Silicone Baking Mats or Parchment Paper | Cookie Stamps (here are some options: Starry Nights (pictured), Snowflakes, Geo Shapes, and Greetings) | Cooling Rack
- Spices: Feel free to make spice substitutions as needed, keeping in mind some spices have a stronger flavor than others. For best results, I recommend following the spices and measurements listed.
Keywords: stamped cookies, cookie stamp, spice cookies