In a mixer bowl, add butter and sugar. Beat it for 2-3 mins until it is creamy. I used my Kitchen-aid stand mixer and ran it on the lowest powder until the mixture was creamy for 2 mins.
Add 2 tbsp honey followed by vanilla essence. Whisk again for a minute.
Meanwhile, add all the dry ingredients – all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon powder, dry ginger powder, nutmeg and clove powders.
Mix the ingredients well. If required, sieve once.
Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl in batches and whisk again for a minute.
When the mixture looks crumbly, add 1 tbsp of milk and whisk again for a minute until the dough comes together.
Invert the dough onto kitchen counter, bring it together and wrap it tightly in a cling wrap. Refrigerate for minimum one hour.
Now make two equal partitions of the dough and roll one part between parchment sheets until it is half a centimeter thick. For soft, chewy cookies, roll it thicker. Place the other half of the dough back in the fridge until needed.
Cut the rolled dough using the gingerbread man cookie cutter or a simple star or round cookie cutter.
Ensure there is minimal wastage when cutting the cookies. Preheat the oven at 180°C for 10 mins.
Carefully remove the cut cookies and place them on a lined baking tray with 2 inches between each cookie. If the dough is very soft, place the tray in the fridge for 5-10 mins before baking.
Bake the cookies at 180°C for 8 mins on toast mode (both filaments on) and another 2-3 mins on bake mode (only bottom filament for even baking and even coloring.
The cookies feel soft just out of the oven. Wait for a couple of minutes and gently transfer them to a wire rack to cool them down completely. They would crisp up on cooling down.
Repeat this process with rest of the dough. Meanwhile, prepare the icing by mixing icing sugar with milk or water.
The icing should be freely flowing. Pour it into a piping bag or simply a plastic bag, cut a small opening at the end.
Pipe out the designs on completely cooled down cookies. The icing dries out almost in 5 mins. If using sprinkles or sugar stamps, don’t wait until the icing is dry.
Store the cookies in an airtight container, these stay good for upto a week.