“Yummy! The cookies were soft, chewy, and I-need-more-worthy!” — Brendan, recipe tester, age 9
Add flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt to food processor and lock lid into place. Turn on processor and process until combined, about 10 seconds.
Stop processor and remove lid. Add melted butter, molasses, and milk and lock lid back into place. Turn on processor and process until soft and crumbly dough forms and no streaks of flour remain, about 20 seconds.
Stop processor, remove lid, and carefully remove processor blade (ask an adult for help). Use rubber spatula to scrape dough onto clean counter. Knead dough until it comes together, about 20 seconds.
Lay sheet of plastic wrap on counter. Place dough in center of plastic and flatten dough into 8-inch circle. Wrap dough tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. If dough has been refrigerated for more than 1 hour, be sure to let dough sit on counter for 15 minutes before rolling out.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove dough from refrigerator and discard plastic. Place dough in center of second large sheet of parchment. Place third large sheet of parchment on top of dough. Use rolling pin to roll dough into 11-inch circle (about ¼ inch thick), rolling dough between parchment.
Peel off top sheet of parchment. Use cookie cutter to cut dough into gingerbread people. Use spatula to transfer shapes to parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced about ½ inch apart.
Gather dough scraps and place them in center of large piece of parchment, and place another piece of parchment on top. Repeat rolling and cutting steps with dough scraps until you have 12 cookies. Discard remaining dough scraps.
Place baking sheet in oven. Bake until cookies are slightly puffy and just set around edges, 9 to 11 minutes.
Use oven mitts to remove baking sheet from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking sheet on cooling rack and let cookies cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes.
One of our favorite ways to decorate cookies is with a glaze you can spread on with an icing spatula or the back of a spoon.
To make glaze: In medium bowl, combine 1⅓ cups (5⅓ ounces) confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon softened cream cheese, and 1 to 2 drops food coloring (if desired). Use rubber spatula to stir until very smooth.
Glazing your cookies gives you a blank canvas for decorating. Just make sure to let the glaze dry completely, about 30 minutes, before serving. Here’s how to do it: