- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
- 6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup pasteurized egg whites
- 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Desired food coloring
Disks of dough can be refrigerated overnight or frozen, up to 1 month, and thawed in the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature until soft enough to roll.Store cookies in airtight containers, up to 1 week.
Picture Perfect: For a neat edge, pipe icing along inner rim of cookie to create a border, then "flood," or fill, the inside with more icing.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat brown sugar and butter on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add egg and molasses and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat to combine. Form dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough between floured parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness. Stack dough in parchment on a baking sheet; refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes. With a 3 1/2-inch bell-shaped cutter, cut out dough (reroll scraps, if desired). Place cookies, 1 inch apart, on two parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake until cookies are firm and edges begin to brown, 14 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.
In a large bowl, using mixer, beat confectioners' sugar, egg whites, and cream of tartar on low until combined. With mixer on high, beat until icing is whipped and opaque, 4 minutes. Thin with water as needed to make a stiff but spreadable icing. Divide icing among bowls; tint with food coloring. Transfer icings to large separate zip-top bags and snip 1/8-inch hole in one corner of each bag. Frost cookies in one color, then pipe horizontal lines in a different color; drag a toothpick up and down through lines. Let sit until icing is set, 2 hours.
SourceEveryday Food, December 2011