Accessorizing Gingerbread Cookies

from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook, 2001 Hearst Communications, Inc.
Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter
1 large egg, beaten
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Directions
In 3 quart saucepan, combine sugar, molasses, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves; heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon.  Remove from heat; stir in baking soda (mixture will foam up). Stir in butter until melted.  Stir in egg, then flour.

On floured surface, knead dough until thoroughly blended. Divide dough in half; wrap one piece in plastic wrap and set aside.

Preheat oven to 325.
With floured rolling pin, roll remaining piece of dough slightly less than 1/4 inch thick.  With floured 3- to 4-inch assorted cookie cutters, cut dough into as many cookies as possible; reserve trimmings for re-rolling.  Place cookies, 1 inch apart on two ungreased large cookie sheets.  If you'd like to use cookies as ornaments, use a chopstick, straw or skewer and make 1/4" hole at the top of each cookie.

Bake until brown around edges, about 12 minutes, rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower oven racks halfway through baking.  With wide spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.  Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings.

When cookies are thoroughly cool, decorate as desired.
Yield: about 3 dozen cookies
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