3 cups all purpose flour, plus for dusting
2/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala (Indian spice blend available at specialty shops)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup molasses
Chocolate Glaze, recipe follows
Royal Icing, recipe follows
Toasted fennel seed, dried rose petals and gold or silver dragees, for garnish
Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and garam masala in a large bowl. Set aside.
Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer). Beat on medium-high speed until the butter is smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and ginger; continue to beat over medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the egg until fully incorporated. Add the molasses and continue to beat until fully incorporated. Add the flour in 2 batches and mix on low until combined and forms a sticky dough. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap, and pat into 2 (1/2-inch thick) rectangles. Chill for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and adjust racks to the bottom and top half of the oven. Line 3 to 4 baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour.
Roll each portion of the dough into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle (if the dough becomes soft, chill for a bit in the refrigerator). Cut the dough with 3-inch cookie cutters, lay on the prepared baking sheets about 1-inch apart, and chill for 10 minutes. Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Decorate, as desired, with Chocolate Glaze or Royal Icing. Garnish with toasted fennel seeds, dried rose petals, or silver dragees.
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
Combine all the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and cook until the chocolate melts, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir to smooth out and combine.
1 1/2 tablespoons egg white powder
3 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons water
Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer over medium-high speed until it forms thick and glossy peaks, about 6 minutes.