In the little Austrian town where I grew up, my mother Maria was famous for her lebekuchen, or gingerbread cookies. She had a number of secrets, which I share with you in this recipe. One was to grind her own spices, though you can also use good-quality ones that are already ground. She flavored her cookies with a mixture of both fresh and dried ginger. She also sweetened them three different ways, with granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, and blackstrap molasses. And yet, as you'll discover, these cookies are surprisingly easy—and so much fun—to make and decorate.