makes 3 - 4 dozen cookies, depending on your cookie cutter sizes
Cream butter, molasses and brown sugar in the workbowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Add salt and mix. Add eggs, one at a time and mix.
In a separate bowl, whisk flour with the spices and baking soda. Add flour mixture to creamed butter and sugar and mix to combine.
Lay 3 sheets of plastic wrap (about 20 inches each) on a cool work surface (marble or granite cutting board or countertop is ideal) and mound 1/3 of the dough on each of the plastic pieces (dough will be very soft – don’t worry!) Pat each mound of dough into a disk and wrap with the plastic. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheet pans each with a Silpat or piece of baking parchment. Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator, remove plastic wrap and place dough on a lightly floured work surface. Let dough warm slightly (about 10 – 15 minutes at room temperature), then roll dough to about ¼-inch thickness using a floured rolling pin. Cut out gingerbread men (yes, they can be women too) or other shapes and transfer cookies to cookie sheet pan (I like to use a bench scraper to do this) and bake 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on sheet pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooking racks to cool completely. Gather dough scraps, wrap in plastic and re-chill. Repeat rolling, cutting and baking with the remaining dough.
Whisk powdered sugar with the cream (or milk) until you have a smooth icing that holds its shape when piped onto cookies. Add more powdered sugar or more milk to achieve desired consistency.
To decorate the cookies, make sure they are cool, then use a pastry bag with a basic round writing tip or simply put the icing in a baggie and snip off a tiny corner of the bag so that the icing can flow out when you squeeze the bag.