This dough bakes into a firm, sturdy cookie, making it appropriate for a
house, large cookies or ornaments. This recipe makes enough dough for one house
5 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
Recipe preparation: In a large
bowl, thoroughly blend shortening and sugar. Add molasses, egg and vanilla and
beat until smooth.
In another bowl, sift dry ingredients. Gradually stir dry ingredients into
molasses mixture. When mixture becomes too stiff to stir with spoon, work dough
with hands until completely blended. Separate dough into 4 balls. Wrap each in
plastic wrap and chill a minimum of one hour. Gingerbread dough can be
refrigerated for up to two weeks.
Baking & Construction Techniques: You may
build your house in stages over a few days or a few weeks time. Bake
gingerbread pieces one day, attach pieces for construction at another time, and
add decorations even later.
Place a disk of chilled dough directly on aluminum foil cut to fit your baking
sheet. Cover dough with plastic wrap and roll to 1/4" thickness.
For dimensions, cut patterns from waxed or parchment paper that include 2
pieces of the following:
Remove plastic wrap, place pattern pieces (which you have cut from waxed or
parchment paper), directly on gingerbread dough, leaving at least 1/2"
border around pieces. Using a small sharp knife, cut around edges of pattern.
Using your fingers or a small knife, remove scrap pieces of dough, leaving cut
pieces intact on foil.
- side walls which are 7" wide and 4" high
- end walls which are pointed are 5 1/2" wide and 8" high at the
- roof panels which are 81/2" wide and 6" high
Cut out doors and windows. Remove paper pattern pieces and place foil directly
on a flat baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees, 10 - 25 minutes, depending on size
Gingerbread will darken, especially around edges, and feel firm to the touch.
Remove sheet from oven and allow pieces to cool on sheet. Gently peel from
foil. You may store pieces lying flat in a cool dry place or freeze in an
When ready to construct the house, spread icing directly on a strong piece of
cardboard, plywood, or a flat unbreakable tray to cover area where house will
Spread or pipe icing on edges of each piece which will attach to one another.
Press pieces firmly together and hold to form neat angles. You may release your
hold when gingerbread pieces are self-standing. (This should only take a minute
Allow the sections to dry before applying the roof or candy decorations. When
pieces are thoroughly dry, you may begin attaching candy, cookies, nuts, etc.,
to the house or "grounds" using the icing as glue. Store in a cool
dry place for up to four weeks.
The Icing: The icing is used as "cement"
to put the structure together, attach decorations, and make icicles and
decorative trim. You will need 2 - 3 batches to complete one project. Make each
batch separately. Any fat substance will inhibit the whites from beating so
separate the yolks carefully and keep all utensils grease-free.
3 large egg whites, room temperature
4 3/4 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
Recipe preparation: Place egg whites in bowl.
Add cream of tartar. Sift sugar directly onto egg whites. Beat 4 minutes with
electric mixer on high speed. The mixture will thicken as you beat it and when
finished should be the consistency of mashed potatoes. Place a piece of plastic
wrap directly over icing while using to prevent air from drying it.
If storing gingerbread for use at another time, store icing in an airtight
plastic container in the refrigerator. If icing becomes too firm, simply beat a
little water into it.
Decorations: Select candy according to size and
desired color. NECCO Wafers are ideal for the roof. In addition, NECCO Gummy
Bears, Cherry Coins, Candy Buttons, Haviland Chocolate Covered Raisins,
Peanuts, Malted Milk Balls and Nonpareils are perfectly suited for gingerbread
Spread additional icing around house to cover board. Complete with inverted ice
cream cone trees (iced & decorated), Sky Bars for sleds, NECCO Chocolate
Marshmallow Santas, Mary Jane Holiday Kisses, and Haviland Thin Mints.
Recipe courtesy of NECCO
- Make the dough smooth and pliable -- not too soft or hard.
- Always chill dough before rolling.
- When making cookies, roll the dough on a lightly floured board. Brush off
excess flour with a soft brush. Lift with flexible metal spatula to
parchment-lined cookie sheets for baking.
- Bake carefully. Do not allow gingerbread to darken.
- Cook until hard and dry. Cool well in a dry place before icing.
- If humidity softens the gingerbread, place baked pieces in a 115-degree
oven until dry.