You will need:
3 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp black molasses
For the frosting:
pastry bag or skilled hands
Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease two large baking sheets. Mix the flour, baking soda, ginger, and diced butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. (A food processor or pastry blades are ideal.) Add the sugar, egg, and molasses and mix until it starts to form a ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it becomes smooth and pliable.
Roll out the dough and use cookie cutters, preferably those shaped like people. Re-roll any trimmings. Bake for 15 minutes until slightly risen; after five minutes out of the oven, place on wire racks to cool.
To decorate, put 1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar in a medium bowl; add just enough water to make a paste. Place the paste in the pastry bag; if there is any frosting left over, place a damp towel over the bowl. Pipe designs onto the cookies and use the frosting to stick candies on where appropriate.