The Nutcracker is a gingerbread cookie handsomely clad in royal icing.
In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Add ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and pepper; beat to combine. Add eggs and molasses; beat to combine. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture; beat until incorporated. Divide dough into thirds; shape into flat disks. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll out dough to an 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out shapes using nutcracker cutter; transfer to baking sheets lined with Silpat baking mats. Refrigerate until firm, at least 15 minutes. Bake until crisp but not darkened, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on racks. Tint each batch of icing as described in royal icing recipe. Decorate cookies with icing, sanding sugar, and dragees.