In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set this dry mixture aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. This can take 2-3 minutes with an electric mixer. Add the molasses and egg to the butter and sugar mixture, and beat until well combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until a dough forms. Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. Roll and Cut the Cookies:
Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Take one of the chilled dough halves and roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/4-inch thickness. Use gingerbread man-shaped cookie cutters to cut out the cookies.Place the cutout cookies on the prepared baking sheets, leaving some space between each one. Gather the scraps, re-roll the dough, and cut out more cookies.
3. Bake the Cookies:
Bake the gingerbread men for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are slightly firm.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Make the Icing:
In a bowl, combine the powdered sugar and meringue powder.
Add the warm water and stir until the mixture is smooth and has a thick con-sistency. You can adjust the water or sugar as needed to get the right consistency for your icing. If you'd like to add color, separate the icing into smaller bowls and add food coloring as desired.
5. Decorate the Gingerbread Men:
Once the cookies are completely cooled, use the icing to decorate them. You can pipe on faces, buttons, and any other designs you like.
Allow the icing to dry and harden before storing the gingerbread men.