Special equipment: A candy thermometer; 2 round cookie cutters (one smaller than the other)
Line a 9-inch square baking pan with plastic wrap. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the sugar, corn syrup and milk, and whisk continuously until a candy thermometer registers 100 degrees F, which will happen rather quickly. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
With an electric mixer on low speed, combine the bread flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, salt and cloves. Slowly pour the butter-sugar mixture in, and beat until thoroughly combined, 2 minutes. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and press with your hands to spread the batter to the sides of the pan. Refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat several baking sheets with cooking spray, or line them with parchment paper. Cut the chilled dough into 4 equal pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 piece of dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch; dust with more flour as needed. (Keep the other dough pieces refrigerated until you're ready to use them.) Using 2 different-sized biscuit or cookie cutters, cut out concentric circles of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch-wide ring. The cookies shown are about 2 inches across, but you can make them larger or smaller based on the size of your cookie cutters. Place the rings about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.
Bake the cookies until slightly browner on the edges and firm to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes for smaller cookies, 15 minutes for larger. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on wire racks for a couple of minutes before using a metal spatula to transfer them to the racks to finish cooling.
Squeeze icing onto each cookie, leaving a thin border around it. While the icing is still wet, press the jelly beans into it end to end. The icing will spread to cover the cookie. Store the baked cookies, decorated or not, in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks; if decorated, stack them between sheets of wax paper.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Jackie Alpers