3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened 175 mL
3/4 cup packed brown sugar 175 mL
3/4 cup cooking molasses 175 mL
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1.125 L
2 tsp ground ginger 10 mL
1 tsp cinnamon 5 mL
3/4 tsp baking soda 4 mL
1/2 tsp ground cloves 2 mL
1/4 tsp baking powder 1 mL
In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy; beat in egg and molasses. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves, baking powder and salt; stir into molasses mixture in 3 additions, blending with hands and kneading to combine.
Divide into thirds; shape into flat rectangles. Wrap each in plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
Between parchment paper, roll out each rectangle to 1/4 inch (5 mm) thickness. With floured 5-inch (12 cm) gingerbread people cutters, cut out cookies. Arrange, 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart, on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake in 325°F (160°C) oven until firm to the touch and light golden on edges, about 15 minutes. Transfer to rack; let cool.
With piping bag fitted with 1/4 inch (5 mm) plain tip (or plastic bag with corner snipped off), pipe icing along edges of cookies and decorate as desired. Add candies if desired. (Make-ahead: store in airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks.)