These cookies have the traditional flavour of gingerbread that is enhanced by the deep and rich flavour of cocoa powder. Decorate them with royal icing and sprinkles!
Place butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and cream for 5 minutes, or until pale and creamy. Scrape down the sides. Add the egg and mix. Mixin the molasses and vanilla.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, all-spice and ginger powder. Mix on low speed until combined properly.
Roll dough into a flat disk. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight. Remove dough from fridge and roll out on a floured surface to about 4mm thick. Use whatever cookie cutter shapes you like. Place cookies on a baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Combine icing sugar, meringue powder, extracts and water. Beat the mixture on medium speed for 7-10 minutes, or until the meringue loses its sheen and forms nice and stiff peaks.
Place the desired amount of icing into a separate bowl and add your desired colour. To loosen the icing add 1/2 tsp of water at a time until you reach your desired consistency (icing should fall off your spoon in a ribbon but take about 10-15 seconds to dissolve back into the rest of the icing).
* It is important to let your dough rest for 3 hours so that the flavours properly develop. You also want to work with dough that is nice and cold and not warm.
* If you find the dough is quite soft after mixing it, add some cocoa powder to the plastic wrap prior to wrapping up the dough. This will prevent sticking
* Be patient when icing. It takes time. I like to ice my cookies using a Wilton 2,3,4 and 5 tip. Make sure the cookies are completely cooled prior to icing.
* For maximum effectiveness let the iced cookies lay out to rest on your countertop uncovered prior to placing them in the cookie jar. You need at least 24 hours or more for the icing to properly set and harden. Do not worry, your cookies will not get dry!