In Journey Back to Christmas, the comet only comes around once every seventy-one years, but you can make this cupcake and cookie combo any time. The recipe takes the old-fashioned tradition of gingerbread and gives it a modern twist. Like a comet, this dessert is a spectacular sight, and it tastes just as good as it looks.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Christmas Comet Cookies

Yield: 18 cupcakes
Prep Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours


Gingerbread Cookies:
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons each: ground ginger and cinnamon
¾ teaspoon each: ground cloves and salt
1 egg, large
½ cup molasses
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)

As needed, white royal icing in pastry bag
18 gingerbread cupcakes, prepared (from scratch or baking mix)
As needed, gold and white sparkling sugar sprinkles

Gingerbread Cupcakes and Hallmark Publishing - Home & Family

1. To prepare gingerbread cookies: cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy. Add spices, egg and molasses; mix to blend. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl; slowly add to mixing bowl on low speed until fully blended. Pat dough into 2 cookie dough disks. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. Roll 1 cookie dough disk out on a floured surface to ⅛-to ¼-inch thick, lifting and turning dough as you roll (reserve remaining cookie dough for another use). Cut out shapes with comet/shooting star-shaped cookie cutter. Transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly light brown around outer edges. Cool.
4. To prepare frosting: combine cream cheese and butter in bowl of stand mixer and mix until fully blended. Slowly add powdered sugar until blended; add vanilla and orange zest and mix until smooth and creamy.
5. Pipe royal icing around outer edges of cookies, if desired.
6. Frost cupcakes with offset spatula or piping bag. Sprinkle sparkling sugar over frosting and top each cupcake with a gingerbread comet cookie.