In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the brown sugar and molasses at medium speed until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat on medium speed until combined.
Divide the dough in half and place each half between 2 large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick and transfer to 2 baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Working with one piece of dough at a time, remove the top sheet of parchment and invert the dough onto a lightly floured work surface; remove the second sheet of parchment. Roll the dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a floured 3-inch cookie cutter, stamp out cookies as close together as possible. Transfer to parchment paper–lined baking sheets. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until puffed and firm. Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then, using a metal spatula, transfer to a rack to cool completely. Reroll the scraps to stamp out more cookies, chilling the scraps between batches.
Using a small paint brush or a pastry bag fitted with a small, plain decorating tip, decorate the cookies with the Royal Icing. Let dry completely before serving.
The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
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