1. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, chili powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Continue to beat while adding the golden syrup, whip until incorporated. Add egg, beat to combine, then add melted chocolate and continue beating on medium speed for an additional 2 minutes. On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
4. Transfer the dough to a flat surface and flatten into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours, or up to 5 days.
5. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
6. Divide the chilled dough into four equal quarters, leaving three quarters in the refrigerator. Flour a flat work surface (be generous) and roll out one piece of dough to a thickness of about ¼ inch. Using a 3 ½–inch gingerbread person cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible. Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheets, about 1 inch apart. Gather all the dough scraps into a ball, reroll, cut, and repeat until no more cookies can be cut.
7. Shape tin foil scraps into shapes roughly the same size as the candy you’ll use to decorate the cookies. Spray each shape with cooking spray. Alternately/additionally, spray chopsticks with cooking spray to use as place-holders for candy canes.
8. Working carefully and quickly, place the foil shapes onto your cookies and gently mold/lift the cookie hands to look as if they’re holding the package/gift/chopstick. Press the dough into the chopsticks/foil shapes if necessary, being wary that you’ll have to peel these away once the cookies are baked.
9. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, until slightly raised. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before removing the foil/chopstick props.
10. Using a spatula, remove the cookies from the cookie sheets, transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
11. Repeat steps 17-21 until dough is used up.
12. Once cookies are cool, use frosting to decorate as desired. Use additional frosting to adhere candy “gifts” or candy canes to the cookies. Candies that work especially well for these cookies: caramels (cubes), starlight mints (cylinders), Rolo, cinnamon bears, gumdrops, and candy canes.
Directions for Icing
1. With a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice or extract until frothy.
2. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, smooth, and shiny.
3. Turn to high and beat approximately 5 minutes till stiff and glossy.
4. Add food coloring, if desired, and transfer to a pastry bag to pipe onto cookies.