Gingerbread people are the rare exception when it comes to my preferred texture for cookies, for I demand they be crispy, never soft, and only minimally moist. This recipe is slightly modified from that designed by The Daring Gourmet.
1 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup molasses
1 large egg
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat the butter in a large bowl on high speed for a few minutes until fluffy and pale in color. Add the white and brown sugar and beat for several more minutes until the mixture is no longer gritty.
Add the molasses and the egg and beat until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture a little at a time using a wooden spoon.
Place the gingerbread dough on the counter and form it into a large smooth mound. Divide it into 4 equal portions and flatten each portion into a disk. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Roll out the dough (one disc at a time!) between two sheets of waxed paper to a thickness of about ¼ inch.
Use ginger people cookie cutters of your choice to cut out cookies. Transfer to cookie sheets using a spatula. Repeat for all remaining dough discs.
Bake the gingerbread cookies for 8-10 minutes or until they are lightly browned around the edges. Let the cookies cool for at least 5 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely and then ice them should you desire.