Prepare Basic Cookie Dough, but in step 1, increase baking sode to 1/2 teaspoon total and add spices to flour mixture. In step 2, reduce butter to 1 stick, substitute dark brown sugar for granulated, and add molasses with egg and vanilla.
Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Flatten each into a disk; Wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough 2 hours or overnight, until firm enough to roll.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Between 2 sheets of waxed paper, roll 1 disk of dough 1/8-inch thick. Remove top sheet of waxed paper. With floured 3-to-4-inch holday-shaped cookie cutters, cut out as many cookies as possible; wrap and refrigerate trimmings. Place cookies, 1-inch apart, on ungreased large cookie sheet.
Bake cookies 11 to 13 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings. When cookies are cool, prepare frosting if you like; add small red candies and raisins to decorate. Set cookies aside to allow frosting to dry, about 1 hour.
Store cookies, with wax paper between layers, in a tightly sealed container. May freeze up to 3 months.
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