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Gingerbread House

 Gingerbread House
Here's a set of tasty house plans! You're sure to have a delectable gingerbread house using my recipe and building tips. —Christa Currie, Milwaukie, Oregon
1 ServingsPrep: 1-1/4 hours Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling

Ingredients

  • GINGERBREAD HOUSE DOUGH:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups shortening
  • 2 cups dark molasses
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 9 to 10 cups all-purpose flour
  • ICING AND ASSEMBLY:
  • 8 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 3/4 to 1 cup warm water
  • Decorating bag
  • Large dot (#12) decorating tip
  • Spice jars
  • Candies and cookies for decorating

Directions

  • Dough: In a large saucepan, cook the sugar, shortening and molasses
  • on low, until shortening is melted and sugar is dissolved, stirring
  • constantly. Remove from heat; add the cinnamon, baking soda and
  • salt. Stir in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough can be formed into
  • a ball.
  • Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until even in color
  • and smooth (not crumbly or dry), adding more flour if needed. Form

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Gingerbread House (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • into a log. Cut into five equal pieces; wrap in plastic wrap. Cut
  • patterns out of paper or cardboard.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease the foil. Lay a damp
  • towel on counter; place prepared pan on towel (to prevent slipping).
  • Unwrap one portion of dough. Using a very lightly floured rolling
  • pin, roll out dough directly on baking sheet to a 15-in. x
  • 10-1/2-in. rectangle about 1/4 in. thick. Position patterns at least
  • 1/2 in. apart on dough as shown. Cut around patterns with a sharp
  • knife or pizza cutter; remove patterns. Remove dough scraps; cover
  • and save to re-roll if needed.
  • Bake at 375° for 10-14 minutes or until cookie springs back when
  • lightly touched. Remove from oven; immediately replace patterns on
  • dough. Cut around the edges to trim off excess cookie. Cool 3-4
  • minutes or until cookies begin to firm up. Carefully remove to a
  • wire rack; cool Repeat with remaining dough and patterns.
  • Icing and Assembly: In a large bowl, beat the sugar, meringue powder
  • and 3/4 cup water on low until blended. Beat on high for 8-10
  • minutes or until stiff peaks form, adding additional water, 1
  • tablespoon at a time, if needed. Place a damp paper towel over bowl
  • and cover tightly until ready to use.
  • To assemble frame of the house, test your cookie pieces to make sure
  • they fit together snugly. if necessary, file carefully with a
  • serrated knife or an emery board to make fit. Fill decorating bag
  • two-thirds full with icing. Beginning with the front of the house,
  • squeeze a 3/8-in. wide strip of icing onto the bottom edge of the
  • front piece. Position on the cookie base, 3 in. from the front edge
  • of the base. Prop it upright with spice jars for 2-3 minutes or
  • until icing hardens; remove jars.
  • To add the sides, squeeze icing on lower edge of one side piece and
  • side edge of the front piece. Align pieces at a right angle, making
  • sure they are as tight as possible. Repeat with the other side.
  • To add the back,squeeze icing on the bottom and side edges of the
  • back piece; position with the other assembled pieces. For added
  • stability, squeeze icing along the inside edge of all pieces and
  • corners.
  • To assemble the roof, working with one side at a time, squeeze icing
  • on the upper edge of the slant of the front and back pieces on one
  • side. Also squeeze icing on the adjoining side piece. Carefully
  • place roof piece on the slants so that the roof's peak is even with
  • the pints of the front and back. (There will be an overhang of 1/2
  • in.) Repeat with other side of the roof.
  • To decorate, add a chimney if desired (see photo for assembly).

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Gingerbread House (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • Decorate the house with remaining icing, candies and cookies of your
  • choice. Yield: 1 gingerbread house.