Makes 5 dozen
Prep: 45 minutes
Bake: 8 to 10 minutes
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
4 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup (or molasses or sorghum)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice or water, or as needed
1. Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and soft. Add the egg, and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute. Fold in the orange zest and corn syrup until combined. Remove the beaters and set aside.
2. Sift the flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt into a medium bowl. Fold the flour mixture into the batter with a spatula until combined. Chill dough, covered, at least 2 hours, or overnight.
3. When ready to bake, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly flour a work surface and remove the dough from the refrigerator. Scrape about half of the dough onto the work surface. Lightly flour a rolling pin, and firmly tap the dough with the rolling pin until it is about 1-inch thick. Roll out the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness, lightly rolling from the center out to the edges and flipping the dough over every so often so that it does not stick to the work surface. Dust the dough and surface with flour as needed. Cut the dough with star cutters (or the cookie cutter of your choice), pressing firmly down on one stroke. With the help of a metal spatula, transfer the cut-outs to ungreased cookie sheets, placing the cookies about an inch apart. Place the pans in the oven. Keep the remaining dough chilled, press the scraps into a loose ball, and roll the scraps and rest of the dough and cut into shapes.
4. Bake the cookies until they are well browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven, and let the cookies cool on the pan 1 minute. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. For the icing, whisk together the powdered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl until smooth. Using a knife, spread the cookies with icing, and let it set before eating. Or, pour the icing into a plastic squeeze bottle, and pipe out squiggles, lines, or designs to decorate.