By Chris07, member
Posted: November 27th, 2012
Whisk the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and pepper in a medium bowl until combined.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl with a hand-held electric mixer), beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beater with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to mix until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until well blended, about 1 minute more.
Divide the dough into thirds and form each piece into a 5-inch square. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
Using a rolling pin, roll a dough square between two 12x16-inch pieces of parchment to about 1/8 inch thick and about 11 inches square. Slide the dough and parchment onto a cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator while you roll out the remaining dough in the same manner. Stack the sheets of dough, sandwiched in parchment, on top of each other and refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes. (At this point, you can refrigerate the dough, wrapped well in plastic, for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting out shapes.)
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 or more cookie sheets (preferably flat sheets with one raised edge) with parchment or nonstick baking liners.
Working with one sheet of dough at a time, remove the top piece of parchment. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Using an offset spatula, arrange them about 1 inch apart on the prepared sheets. Freeze until very firm, about 20 minutes. Press the dough scraps together, reroll, chill, and cut more shapes; freeze. Repeat until all of the dough is used.
Bake two sheets at a time, rotating and switching their positions halfway through, until the edges and bottoms of the cookies are golden, about 11 minutes. Let the cookies cool on their sheets on wire racks for about 5 minutes and then transfer to the racks to cool completely.
In a small bowl, mix the confectioners' sugar, cream, and salt with a spoon or rubber spatula until well blended and smooth. Add lemon zest and food coloring, if using, and stir until well blended. If necessary, add more cream a drop at a time for a thin, spreadable consistency. (The glaze can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Arrange the cooled cookies on a rack set over a large rimmed baking sheet. Dip the sides of each cookie to cover half or more of the cookie. Let excess glaze drip off and then transfer to the rack.
Alternatively, use a fork to drizzle the glaze over the cookies on the rack. Or partially fill one corner of a small, heavy-duty zip-top baggie with glaze, squeeze out the air, and seal the baggie. Cut off the corner and gently squeeze the bag to drizzle the glaze evenly over the cookies.
Decorate each cookie further with sanding sugar while the glaze is still wet, let the cookie sit for about 10 minutes, then invert the cookie to remove any excess. Let the cookies remain on the rack until the glaze sets up, about 3 hours.