2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
3 tablespoons cold freshly brewed strong coffee
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 large egg white
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
food coloring paste (optional)
Prepare the cookies: In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and salt.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set at medium, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, corn syrup, and coffee, and beat until well blended. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until well blended. Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic, and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Remove 1 piece of dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes to soften slightly. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using bear-shaped cookie cutters, cut out the dough. Place the cookies on a prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Gather the scraps and roll them to make more cookies. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake for 8 minutes, or until the cookies are crisp and no longer shiny. Set the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for 1 minute. Using a large spatula, transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
Prepare the icing: In a small bowl, using an electric mixer set at medium, beat the confectioners' sugar, egg white, and cream of tartar until very stiff peaks form. Tint with coloring paste, if desired. Spoon the icing into a pastry bag fitted with a very small round plain tip (no. 2) and decorate the bears by drawing eyes, nose, mouth, bow ties, buttons, etc.
Makes 3 to 4 dozen bears.
"The Best of Coffee: A Cookbook" by Sandra Gluck