- 1 1/2 cups firmly packed C&H® Golden Brown Sugar
- 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup molasses
- 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. ginger, ground
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
- 1 teaspoon allspice, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
- 1 teaspoon salt
Equipment and Decorating Supplies:
- Stiff paper or cardboard to trace and cut out 2 sets of pattern pieces (from template)
- 2-5 cookie sheets
- Parchment paper for lining pans
- Rolling pin
- Blades, small & large (sharp knives or pizza cutter)
- Pastry brush
- Pastry bag or zipper-style plastic freezer bags
- Confectioners' or powdered sugar for dusting
- Double batch of Royal Icing (see Related Recipes)
- Single batch of Easy Fondant (see Related Recipes; make a day in advance—it needs to rest overnight before using)
- Single batch of Simple Glaze (see Related Recipes)
- Seasonal candies for decorating
To Prepare Dough: Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and molasses; mix. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Gradually add to sugar mixture; blend well. Wrap and refrigerate dough 1-2 hours.
To Make Gingerbread House Pieces: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Place sheet of parchment or waxed paper on large flat surface. Dust paper lightly with flour. Divide dough evenly to make rolling easier. Using rolling pin, roll dough out evenly to 1/4-inch thickness. If dough sticks, dust lightly with flour.
Place pattern pieces on dough; cut around edges using small blade, wiping after each cut. Bake until edges are just beginning to darken and cookie looks dry. Baking time will vary—large pieces will take 10-14 minutes; small pieces 6-8 minutes. While still slightly warm, lay pattern pieces on top and use large blade to trim any parts that have spread beyond the pattern during baking. Once finished cookie pieces are trimmed, tape paper pieces together to see how the finished house will look. This is also a great tool to use for planning your decorations.
Allow cookie pieces to cool on cookie sheet about 10-15 minutes before removing to cooling racks to cool completely. Prepare Royal Icing and Simple Glaze.
To Decorate Gingerbread House: Cut new Gingerbread House template. Place parchment or waxed paper on large flat surface; dust with powdered or confectioners' sugar. Take a piece of fondant icing and form into disc. Use rolling pin to roll the fondant evenly to 1/8-inch thickness. If fondant starts to stick, dust with additional sugar. Using template, cut fondant pieces large enough to cover cookie-house pieces. With pastry brush, spread a thin amount of Simple Glaze over face of gingerbread cookie, then place fondant piece on top of matching cookie piece. Repeat for all pieces of Gingerbread House. Allow to dry for 3 hours or overnight.
Fill pastry bag or freezer bag with Royal Icing. If using freezer bag, snip 1/4 inch off corner. Pipe a thick line of icing along side and bottom of one of the sides of the house, and along the bottom of the front cookie piece. Press the iced side piece against the edge of either the front or back cookie piece; position the two pieces onto the cookie base. If necessary, seek the help of a friend or family member to help you hold it in place for a few minutes, until icing is partially set. Repeat this step again to complete other 3 sides of house. Pipe icing along seams, inside and outside of house, to fill any open spaces. Allow icing to set for at least 10-15 minutes. Once icing has dried enough so that base structure is solid, begin work on roof.
Pipe icing all along top edges of structure. Place roof pieces so that long ends of rectangle are running along top of house. Meet the two pieces at top; pipe line of Royal Icing to connect two pieces and place them on top of house. Hold roof pieces in place with light pressure for a few minutes, until they are set. Let house stand for at least 1-2 hours, or overnight if possible, before final decorating.
When house is set and dry, it's time to decorate! Use Royal Icing in pastry bag as "glue" to attach seasonal candies—small candy canes, colorful gumdrops, peppermints, ribbon candy, etc.—and let your imagination go wild!