I've made this recipe using both light and dark molasses. Both are good, but I personally prefer the "bite" of dark molasses. The lighter the molasses, the lighter the cookie. The reindeer cookies pictured above were made with the light molasses for a softer overall look.
I recommend rolling the dough 1/4 inches thick to cut cookies -- anything thinner than that is likely to be too brittle for decorating.
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 tablespoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar (densely packed)
2/3 cup molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In large bowl, sift together flour, spices (ginger, cinnamon, allspice), baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed (setting 4 on most KitchenAid mixers) until fluffy (roughly 3 minutes). Beat in eggs one at a time until just combined. Add molasses and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Don't over mix -- 30-90 seconds should be good.
Remove half of the dough from bowl, make a ball, and place on a large piece of plastic wrap on counter. Wrap the sides of wrap over the ball, then press down with the palm of your hand and make a disc about 2" thick. Finish wrapping the disc with the plastic wrap. Repeat with 2nd half of dough. Chill both discs of dough for no less than two (2) hours.
Remove one disc and remove plastic wrap. Place on top of a large piece of parchment paper. Place another large piece of parchment paper on top of dough and roll. You want these cookies to be about 1/4" thick.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Slide your parchment paper and dough onto a cutting board and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
Remove from fridge and cut shapes using the cutters of your choice. Place cutouts on cookies sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake 8-10 minutes (until cookie edges are just crisp).
Cool sheets on wire racks for 20 minutes, then move cookies to wire racks to finish cooling.