I found this recipe on The Food Network from Gale Gand. It's the same recipe I used for the gingerbread house last year (along with Gale's instructions for making and building the house). I've decided that this dough is much too delicious to use in a gingerbread house that won't be eaten. This year I made simple gingerbread men. The dough was softer than I remember from last year but I used lots of flour to roll it out and then transferred the rolled dough to the freezer on a cookie sheet before using the cookie cutters on them. Frozen dough is much easier to peel off your rolling surface then warm dough. They're almost too cute to eat...almost!
adapted from Gale Gand and The Food Network
8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 1/4 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups confectioners' sugar, plus more as needed
2 egg whites
In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time until incorporated. Add the molasses and vanilla and mix.
Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves, and salt. Working in batches, and mixing after each addition just until combined, add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture. Shape the dough into a thick disk, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease 2 cookie sheets.
On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough in half and roll each piece out into a large 1/4-inch thick sheet. Cut out with cookie cutters and transfer to a silpat lined cookie sheet.
Bake until stiff and toast-y, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely.
Make the Royal Icing: In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the confectioners' sugar and egg whites together. Add more sugar, if necessary, to reach a spreadable consistency. Using a pastry bag with #2 tip or a squeeze bottle, decorate the cookies as desired. Let the icing dry 24 hours before storing.