Makes:About 42 (3-inch) cookies
The sweet, warm, spiced notes of gingerbread cookies say “holiday” regardless of whether you decorate the cookies, and these are doubly tasty when paired with a hot drink. Cut the cookies into circles or make them into any shape you desire; just be mindful that baking times change with the shape. And if you want to decorate them to resemble your favorite jailbird celebrity, along with assembling a jailhouse, check this out.
What to buy: There are various intensities of molasses available, from light to blackstrap, and after trying nearly all of them, we found that dark (sometimes marketed as robust) tastes best in this dough. (It is the most traditional type to use in gingerbread, though some taste testers also enjoyed the cookies made with light molasses.) Molasses can be found at health food stores and gourmet markets.
Combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking soda, and clove in a large bowl. Whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
Combine the sugar, butter, and molasses in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until fluffy and light, about 2 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl, add the egg, and mix until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until moist throughout, about 2 minutes. Turn the dough onto a dry, clean surface, divide it in half and form it into flat disks, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place half of the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll it out to 1/4-inch thickness.
Cut the dough into 3-inch round cookies and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Gather the remaining dough into a ball and place in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before rerolling.
Bake the cookies until the edges are brown but the centers are still soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly on the baking sheet (about 2 minutes), then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.