Gluten-free flour stands in for regular flour in these crisp, festive cut-out cookies that taste amazing. To decorate, dust cookies with sanding sugar before you bake them or drizzle and pipe on royal icing once they've cooled.
Whisk 3 cups flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, cloves and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar, molasses, egg and orange zest in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended.
With the mixer on low speed, then medium speed, beat about half the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until incorporated. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated. Let the dough stand for 5 minutes. It should be somewhat firm, but not at all dry. If it seems overly sticky, stir in up to 2 additional tablespoons of flour.
Divide the dough into thirds. Place 1 piece on a 12-inch-long sheet of parchment paper and shape into a disk. Top with a second sheet of parchment. Roll the dough out between the parchment into an 8-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Place the parchment with the rolled-out dough on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, stacking each disk on top of the previous one. Freeze on the baking sheet until cold and firm, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.
To shape and bake cookies: Position a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 or 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, remove from the freezer. Remove the top sheet of parchment and cut out cookies with 2 1/2- to 3-inch cookie cutters. Transfer the cookies to a prepared baking sheet with a wide, thin spatula, spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart. Repeat with the remaining dough. (If the dough gets too soft, freeze until firm again. As you cut out cookies, set aside the scraps. Shape all the scraps back into a disk and reroll between parchment. Freeze for at least 30 minutes before cutting out.)
Bake the cookies on the center rack, one baking sheet at a time, until browned on the bottom, 6 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate as desired.
To make ahead: Prepare dough through Step 3 and freeze for up to 1 day. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
1/2 fat, 1/2 other carbohydrate, 1/2 starch