6Tablespoonsunsalted buttersoftened to room temperature
1/4cupbrown sugarI prefer dark here, firmly packed
1 and 1/2teaspoonsground cinnamon
1large eggroom temperature*
1/2cup+ 2 Tablespoons unsulphered molasses
1/2Tablespoonlight corn syrup
1 and 1/2cupspowdered sugar
In a medium bowl, sift together flour (beginning with 2 and 1/2 cups), baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl with a hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, shortening, and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add spices and beat again on medium speed for 1 minute.
Add the egg and beat well, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add molasses and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until everything is incorporated, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl to ensure all ingredients are combined.
Add the flour mixture slowly and mix on low speed. Add additional flour in increments of 1 Tablespoon. You may need more than 3 cups, but stop after 3 cups plus 2 Tablespoons. When dough is thoroughly mixed, separate into equal halves, pat into 1" discs, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 1 day).
When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat oven to 375ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.
Lightly dust a flat surface with powdered sugar and roll dough to 1/4" thickness (1/8" thickness if you prefer crunchy cookies). Use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes and place on baking sheet. These cookies will not spread much, but do not crowd cookies. Place baking sheet in refrigerator for 10 minutes or freezer for 5 minutes.
Bake cookies for 9 minutes (3" cookies), 7 minutes (2" cookies) or 6 minutes (1" cookies). If your cookies start to turn dark brown, they're overdone. Add 2 minutes to baking time for crunchier cookies (1/8" cookies can follow listed baking times). It's best to run a "test batch" of 1 or 2 cookies to find the baking time that works best for you and your oven. Allow cookies to rest on baking sheet for 1 minute before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
Once cookies are completely cool, decorate as desired. Cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week. Cookies can be frozen up to 2 months.
When you're ready to decorate your cookies, place powdered sugar in a medium bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, combine warm water, light corn syrup, and vanilla. Stir until corn syrup is dissolved.
Add sugar water to powdered sugar and stir until completely combined. Mixture will be thick. The consistency you're looking for is a slowly dripping icing that disappears into the bowl within about 12 seconds. Add water by drop if you think it's too thick. If it becomes too thin, add more powdered sugar by the teaspoon. Use immediately. If you need to wait to use your icing, cover tightly, and use within 1 day. You will need to stir it up again and possibly add more water before using.
*When using room temperature butter, it is recommended you use room temperature eggs to ensure proper incorporation. To bring an egg to room temperature quickly, place in a cup of warm water for about 10 minutes.^See my detailed easy royal icing recipe for a video of exactly how to make this icing and what the drizzle test looks like.