- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
- 2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- Sanding sugar and miniature candies, for decorating
- Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg; mix well. Beat in molasses, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, baking soda, and salt. Reduce speed to low, and add flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing until incorporated.
- Divide dough into quarters; shape into disks and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm, about 3 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out cookies, rolling out any scraps and additional disks as needed until you have about 24 people. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. With remaining dough, cut out additional shapes to make clothes, jewelry, and hair as desired. Dress cookies, then chill 20 minutes.
- Bake cookies 2 sheets at a time, 7 minutes; rotate sheets top to bottom and front to back, and continue baking until cookies are firm when touched, 6 to 8 minutes more. Let cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely. Decorate cookies as desired.
Well-wrapped dough can be frozen up to one month. Let soften slightly before rolling.