3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 cup salted butter, softened
¾ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg
½ cup unsulfured molasses
½ cup (3 oz) raisins (optional)
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 to 2 tsp milk
Yield: 2 ½ dozen 6 inch cookies
3 ½ dozen 4 inch cookies
Preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream butter and sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add egg and molasses, and beat on medium speed until smooth. Scrape bowl and add the flour mixture. Blend on low speed just until combined; do not overmix.
Separate dough into 2 balls and flatten into disks. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap or a plastic bag, and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.
On floured surface with floured rolling pin, roll dough out to ¼ inch thickness. With floured cookie cutters cut into gingerbread men. Gather scraps and reroll dough until all dough is used. Place on ungreased baking sheets ½ apart.
If you want to use raisins to decorate the cooked, plump raisins first by soaking them in warm water for 5 minutes. Discard water. Use raisins as eyes, mouth and buttons.
Bake 9-11 minutes being careful not to brown. Transfer to cool flat surface with spatula.
To prepare the icing: Whisk sugar and milk together in a small bowl until mixture is smooth but liquid. If it seems dry, add ¼ teaspoon more milk. Spoon icing into pastry bag fitted with a small piping tip. Decorate gingerbread men as desired.