Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies
about 3 dozen 4-inch tall gingerbread cookies
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  • 14 1/4 ounces (3 cups plus 2 tablespoons) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 pound (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 degrees 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 minutes. 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.
For the best results, measure your flour by weight instead of volume. (1 cup of all-purpose flour equals 4-1/2 ounces) If you don't have a scale, be sure to use the proper technique when filling your measuring cups.
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