Gingerbread ~ A Holiday MUST

I have been making the same gingerbread recipe for about the last 6 years, mainly because they ALWAYS turn out, and are always delicious.  They are a little time consuming, but it is so very worth it when I get the chance to share these.
Gingerbread
Ingredients:
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 large eggs
1 cup unsulfured molasses
Royal Icing, for decorating
Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:
Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl and set aside.

Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds; wrap each in plastic.

Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into shapes with different holiday cookie cutters.  Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Put icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip (I use a Wilton #3). Pipe designs on cookies; immediately sprinkle with sanding sugar. Let stand 5 minutes; tap off excess sugar. Let icing set completely at room temperature, about 1 hour. Store cookies between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.

Source: yet again, Martha Stewart

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