Classic Gingerbread Cookies


For the Cookies

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

zest of one small orange

For the Icing

2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons light corn syrup or honey

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

toppings: icing, red hots, sprinkles (optional)

Food coloring (optional)

For the Cookies

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, salt and nutmeg, then set aside.

Beat butter and sugar together for 2 minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

Add in egg, molasses and vanilla, then beat on medium speed until combined.

Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add flour mixture until just combined.

Divide dough into two equal portions and form them each into a ball.

Then use your hands to flatten each ball into a 1" thick disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until dough is chilled yet still pliable.

Preheat your oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then set aside.

Unwrap dough and place it on a large, lightly-floured surface.

Use a floured rolling pin to roll dough until it is approximately 1/8" thick.

Then use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes, re-rolling dough as needed to cut out more.

Transfer to parchment-covered baking sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies are crisp around the edges and on top.

Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Once cookies are room temperature, decorate them with icing plus sprinkles or candies.

Serve and enjoy immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to 4 days.

For the Icing

Mix all of the ingredients together. Stir until smooth; a fork works fine.

The icing should be thick, but soft enough to "settle" when you spread it.

If the icing is too thick, dribble in another teaspoon of milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time.

Glaze one cookie and set it aside.

The icing won't be perfectly smooth, but should become a smooth surface within 30 seconds.

Has the icing settled into a smooth surface? If so, it's the right consistency.

Remember, it's easier to add more liquid, so start with icing that's thicker than you think it should be, then add milk little by little to adjust consistency.

Add food color, use gel paste food colors as they yield vibrant color and don't alter the liquid/sugar ratio like regular food colors. Enjoy!
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