14-1/4 oz. (3 cups plus 2 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. table salt
3/4 lb. (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup very firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
Sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, and salt. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and molasses on medium until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Beat in the egg until thoroughly combined. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour until blended. Divide the dough, wrap each half in plastic, and chill until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.
Position a rack in the cennter of the oven; heat the oven to 350°F. Lay each piece of dough between two long sheets of parchment or waxed paper. If the dough is very firm, let it sit until pliable.
Roll it to about 1/8 inch thick. Peel off the top layer of paper and cut out cookies with a cookie cutter. Put the sheet of dough in the freezer for a few minutes until the dough firms enough to easily transfer the cutouts to ungreased cookie sheets (space them about 2 inches apart). Gather and reroll the scraps.
Bake until the edges are golden brown, 10 to 12 min. Let cool on the sheet for 1 minute before transferring the cookies to a rack to cool.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for three to four days.
Pairs Well With
I got this recipe from a recipe card that was bound into a special issue of Fine Cooking. I love this recipe and make these cookies every year around Christmas (and sometimes after). This year, when it was time, I went to pull the recipe out and couldn't find it. I freaked! I looked everywhere for that !@#$% recipe. Sure, I could have found other Gingerbread recipes, but I wanted mine! Finally, I did an internet search (God bless the internet) and miracle of miracles, I actually found it. After saving it on my computer then printing it out, I went about blissfully making my cookies. Some time later, as I was cleaning out a basket of miscellaneous magazines/newspaper articles/odds and ends, what did I find? My recipe, right where I had apparently left it (and where I had also previously looked). The gremlins who hide things you're looking for until you're no longer looking for them struck again.
Yields about 3 dozen 4-inch-tall gingerbread people (I cut mine into diamond shapes which makes about 6 dozen or so)