1 cup of shortening
1 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of molasses
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 egg, beaten
5 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
Cream shortening, sugar, and salt. Stir in molasses, vinegar and egg. Sift together then add the remaining ingredients. Chill mixture overnight. Roll out dough on a floured board to 1/8 inch. Bake on parchment lined baking sheets for 6 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove from oven and place on cooling racks to dry. This recipe will make 5 houses with dough remaining for gingerbread men! I doubled the recipe and made 11 houses and still had extra dough. It smells wonderful while its baking!
Now to put your houses together. All portions of your gingerbread house should be edible. One choice is to use royal icing to "glue" the portions of the house together. This year, I tried the boiled sugar method and loved it. It's fast and the houses are rock solid. You have to be VERY careful as boiled sugar will make a nasty burn. This is no time for the kids to be in the kitchen helping. All you need is sugar, a large skillet, and heat. Stir sugar around until it begins to melt. It will clump up at first as you can see in the photo. Continue to stir until all sugar is melted. Remove from the heat source at that time.
Now for the fun part, have either bowls of royal icing made for each person or go the easy route and buy white icing in the can. Make sure that it is perfectly white. Next have lots of candy, pretzels, shredded wheat (great for roofs), candy canes, gum drops, etc. for everyone to use. I have sets of items all over the table. Here we are decorating our homes. That's me with the heart made of candy canes!
1. Crush lifesavers and place the crushed pieces on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Place in a 350* oven until they melt. When they harden, they look like stained glass and make great windows!
2. Crushed up shredded wheat makes great roofs and walkways. Coconut makes pretty snow!
3. Use your imagination when it comes to the candy decorations and buy enough for decorating and enough for eating! Always have more than you think you will need.
4. Make large batches of royal icing or purchase pure white canned icing for decorating.
5. Purchase round cake bases at your local craft store or bakery. They make a wonderful base for each gingerbread house.
6. If you go the melted sugar route to assemble the houses, remember that it is VERY hot and you must be careful not to get burned. It is a good idea to have a bowl of iced water near in case any accidentally gets on your hand.
7. Have fun! That's the most important part of gingerbread house construction...it is so much fun! Have a wonderful week. I'll be in the kitchen baking!
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse!