Gingerbread House

Cream the following:
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. dark molasses
2 Tbsp cold water

Sift the following:
3 c. flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Add dry ingredients to shortening mixture and mix well. Dough will be stiff. Chill at least 1 hour. Grease or spray mold with vegetable spray, and press dough into mold. Alternatively, roll out dough, cut into desired shapes, and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Let it cool in mold 10 minutes. Carefully remove each piece with a pancake turner to cooling rack, flat side down. Repeat with other side of house. It is better to bake it a day ahead to allow for stiffening. Makes 1 house.

Royal icing:
3 egg whites at room temperature
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 lb sifted powdered sugar (or more)

Combine in mixing bowl and mix on high for 7-10 minutes. Beat until very stiff. You can't over-beat it. Store at room temperature. Dries hard.

This is an ideal frosting for constructing gingerbread houses because it dries quickly and becomes as hard as a rock, so you can construct elaborate things like the cathedral pictured above, without it collapsing in the process.

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