3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 sticks salted butter
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
5 tbs molasses
3 tbs water
2 tbs ground cinnamon
2 tbs ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1. Cream butter and sugar in bowl of stand mixer (using paddle attachment) until fluffy.
2. Add molasses, water and spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper) and mix until combined.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda. Slowly add in flour mixture, in three parts, mixing after each addition.
4. Roll dough out to 1/4″ thick between sheets of waxed paper (see instructions in this post.) Refrigerate dough sheets for 30 minutes before cutting shapes. Refrigerate cut shapes again, for another 30 minutes, before baking. Refrigerated dough will spread out less when baked.
5. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes (depending on cookie size) at 400 degrees F on a parchment paper or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake cookies of equal size together.
6. Once cookies have cooled, they can be decorated with royal icing. This design is done in several stages.
For the icing
1. Outline the black section of the penguin with black piping icing. The tip should hover above the cookie without touching it.
2. After the outline has dried for a couple minutes, fill it in with black flood icing. If the flood is a little to thick, and doesn’t spread out on its own, a toothpick can be used to pull it into the corners.
3. Once the black section has dried completely (overnight), repeat steps 1 and 2 with the white piping and flood icings to outline and fill in the white section of the penguin.
4. Let the white section dry completely before piping on yellow triangles for the nose and feet
5. Using a black food decorating pen, draw eyes on the dried icing.