2 cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
11 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup mild-flavored molasses
1 large egg, at room temperature
1. Stir together the dry ingredients.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter just until soft and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to beat until smooth, stopping the mixer to scrape down any butter clinging to the sides of the bowl.
3. Stir in the vanilla, molasses and egg.
4. Mix in the dry ingredients gradually until the dough is smooth.
5. Divide the dough in two equal portions and roll each on a lightly-floured surface until each is about 2-inches around. Don't worry if they're not perfect; you can neaten them up in a second.
6. Wrap each in plastic wrap then roll them lightly on the counter to smooth them out. Refrigerate, or better yet, freeze the cookie logs until firm.
7. To bake, preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
8. Slice cookie dough into 1/4-inch rounds with a sharp knife. Leave a couple of inches between cookies since they'll spread while baking.
9. Bake for 10-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway during baking, until deep-golden brown. The cookies will puff up a bit while baking, then settle down when they're done. Bake on the lower end of the range for softer cookies, and more for snappier ones, depending on your oven.
10. Let the cookies cool two minutes, then remove them with a spatula and transfer them to a cooling rack.