These classic gingerbread cookies are lightly sweet, laced with the flavors of molasses and spice. Here, a bit of whole wheat flour is easily disguised by the spices. Use your favorite cookie cutters to make gingerbread people, snowflakes, stars or whatever strikes your fancy!
- In a large bowl, combine the unbleached and whole wheat pastry flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Whisk to mix well, reserve. In a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric beater, cream the butter until soft. Add the brown sugar and beat, scraping and mixing until well-mixed. Add the molasses and beat, scrape down and add the egg, beat again until thoroughly combined. On low speed, stir in the flour mixture. Divide the dough into four pieces. Form a rectangle of each and place between sheets of parchment and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Stack the dough rectangles, separated by parchment paper, on a baking pan and wrap tightly, chill for three hours, or up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Carefully remove the parchment from the top of each dough sheet, lay the dough on the counter and use cookie cutters to cut shapes. Use a thin metal spatula to transfer cut cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Leave an inch of space between the cookies. Press the scraps of dough together and roll out again; cut cookies.
- Bake for 6 minutes, then switch the position of the pans between upper and lower oven racks and bake for 6 minutes more. These cookies are a tad thick, so you might need another two minutes to get them crisp. When cookies are slightly puffed and look dry, cool on racks on the pan for five minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool completely.
- When the cookies are cool, mix the powdered sugar with egg whites or meringue powder in a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric beater. Gradually mix in lemon juice and water, a tablespoon at a time, to make your desired consistency. To pipe on the icing, transfer to a piping bag with a small round tip, or use a zip-top bag with a small corner cut off, and use to draw outlines on the cookies.
- Allow icing to dry, then store, tightly covered, for four days, or freeze for a month. If raw eggs are used, eat or freeze within 24 hours.