Perfect Gingerbread People

• 6 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

• 1 cup dark-brown sugar

• 4 teaspoons ground ginger

• 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

• 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

• 2 large eggs

• 1 1/2 cups unsulfured molasses

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt. Beat in eggs and molasses. Add flour mixture; mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Divide dough into thirds and wrap in plastic.

Chill for at least 1 hour.

To bake, preheat your oven to 350F. On a well-floured work surface roll one of the three discs of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Some people like a softer, thicker cookie – if this is the case you can roll your dough thicker, up to a ¼ of an inch. Cut cookies in any shape you want. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat, leaving at least one inch of space between each cookie. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool completely before eating or decorating.

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