Makes 12 large or 20-24 small cookies
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 scant teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1⁄2 cup white sugar
- 1⁄2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1⁄2 cup of unsulfured molasses
- 1 large egg
- 1 orange, zested
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Red candies for the nose
- Powdered sugar for dusting
In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the softened butter, white sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add in the molasses. Turn the mixer back onto medium speed and allow the molasses to be combined, and then add in the egg, orange zest, and vanilla. Continue mixing on medium speed for 1 minute or until completely combined.
Turn the mixer down to low, and then in thirds add in the sifted dry ingredients. After the second addition of flour, turn the mixer off and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Return the mixer to low speed and then add in the last of the flour and mix until the last of the flour is just combined. Do not overmix.
Remove the dough from the mixer and place on a floured surface. Separate into two separate pieces. Flatten each half into a flattened circle disk and then wrap in plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and adjust the racks to the middle of the oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
On a dry flat surface place two large pieces of plastic wrap and lightly flour. Place the flattened dough into the center and then place two more pieces of plastic wrap over the top. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough until it is an even 1⁄4 inch (if the dough is too thin you will not be able to pick up the shaped cookies). If the dough is too cold to roll out, allow it to sit out for 10-12 minutes until it becomes soft enough to roll out.
Carefully remove the top layer of the plastic wrap. Dip your cookie cutter in flour before using. Tear away the dough from in between the cut cookies and then carefully remove your cut cookies with a thin spatula and place them onto the prepared baking sheet. Make sure to leave space between your cookies so they have room to rise a little while baking. Make an indentation with your red candy for the nose, but do not leave them on while baking as they will melt.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown, remove from the oven and immediately press the red nose into place and then cool on a wire rack. If your nose doesn’t stick, you can use a tiny bit of frosting to adhere it in place. Dust your cookies with powdered sugar and serve.
You can gather together the leftover pieces of dough and press them together to make another batch of cookies. If the dough becomes too soft, wrap it back up and place into the refrigerator.