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  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the 2 3/4 cups of flour with the baking soda and baking powder. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the brown sugar at medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves and black pepper, then beat in the whole egg. With the mixer on, drizzle in the molasses and beat until blended. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches.

  2. Divide the dough in half and pat into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.

  3. Preheat the oven to 325° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough inch thick. Using 4- to 5-inch cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Reroll the dough scraps and cut out more cookies.

  4. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, until the tops are dry and the edges just start to darken; rotate the pans halfway through baking. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

  5. In a medium bowl, beat the egg white at medium speed until foamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, beating between additions, until the sugar is completely incorporated. Add 1/2 tablespoon of water and beat at high speed until the icing holds its shape, about 5 minutes. Thin with more water as needed.

  6. Decorate the cooled cookies with the icing and serve.

Make Ahead

The cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

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