JC's Here Comes Santa


  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much
  • 1/3 cup 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons very soft butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) cubed, cold
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste


  • 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 6-8 teaspoons milk
  • 4 teaspoons corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or almond extract
  • food coloring if desired

Yields: Half Sheet Pan


1. Preheat oven 350.

2. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, corn syrup, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low until smooth, then sprinkle in flour and continue mixing to form a stiff dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.

3. Sprinkle prepared parchment with flour, place dough on top, and flatten into a rectangle. Sprinkle with more flour and roll to fit just within edges of parchment, leaving dough about 3/16 inch thick. Place the parchment and dough on baking sheet and cut according to your gingerbread house template, using a razor knife or paring knife. Leave a narrow border of dough around cutouts to minimize spreading, but trim away larger areas of excess dough to gather and re-roll.

4. Bake gingerbread until dry to the touch and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Immediately cut along pre-scored lines with a sharp knife or pizza wheel. Cool completely in pan, then transfer cutouts to a safe place.


Yields 24 Cookies

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and line baking sheets with parchment.

2. Cream the butter and sugar, just until smooth and combined.

3. Mix in the eggs until incorporated.

4. Add the flour, cornstarch, and salt, and mix on medium low speed. The mixture will seem very dry and sandy at first, but after 3 to 5 minutes in the mixer it will gather itself into a ball and pull away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.

5. Stir in vanilla. (If you do not have an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment, you may have to knead the dough by hand to fully bring it together.)

6. Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper to a thickness of 1/4 inch.

7. Cut into shapes, and bake for 9 to 12 minutes

8. Cool completely, then decorate with icing


1. Sift powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Add 6 teaspoons milk, corn syrup, and extract. Stir vigorously until icing is smooth.

2. If needed, add additional milk to thin icing more. You've reached the correct consistency for frosting if a scoop of icing slowly falls off the spoon. If making colored icing, divide into bowls and add food coloring.