Construction Grade Gingerbread

I have cookie cutter issues, plain and simple. I have cookie cutters for the most ridiculous things (a mushroom?), and always find room for more. We were once late for dinner in Seattle, and became even later when we drove past a glittering store simply named “Cookies”…and had to stop. Our friends really thought we were nuts when I proudly displayed my newest cutters! This week, a quick run into Hobby Lobby for ribbon had me stopped dead in the center aisle gasping at the Wilton gingerbread house cutter set…and just like that…my “ribbon” cost $8 more.
I’m married to an engineer, and we’re currently building our own house. I’m sure I could have done this without the cutters, but this is way more fun. The cutters also snapped me out of my old routine of using graham crackers for the walls. Have fun!

Gingerbread Houses

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. ginger
1/4 t. cloves
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup water
2 2/3 cups flour

1.) Cream together the shortening, sugar and molasses.
2.) Add the all the spices and powders.
3.) Cream in the water (things may separate a bit, just keep beating).
4.) Add the flour.  You’ll roll more flour in later, but if your dough seems particularly soft, you can add a few more tablespoons of flour.
5.) Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until chilled (2 hours or so)
6.) Roll dough out thin, adding flour to keep the dough from sticking. (1/4 inch thick at the most, if your walls are too thick and heavy…especially the roof…it’s hard to get them to glue together).
7.) Cut out shapes and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Place pans in the freezer while oven heats.
8.) Preheat oven to 350.
9.) Bake for 12-15 minutes until browned.
10.) Cool on a rack before assembling.

Sugar Cement (Egg-Free Royal Icing)
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3-4T water

1.) Mix it up! It should be thick like toothpaste, not runny like Elmer’s glue.

Necco Wafers, Laffy Taffy (small ones only, the big bars have egg), Airheads, Skittles, Dum-Dums, Life-Savers, Jujubes, Starburst, Mike&Ikes, Hot Tamales, Dots, Nerds, Peeps, Gimballs Jelly Beans.



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