Don't rely on a box! Make your own homemade gingerbread house or cookies at home. This recipe may be used to make delicious gingerbread cookies or building slabs for gingerbread houses. The icing may be used to decorate the cookies or paste together the slabs of the house. You may make the pieces up to 1 month in advance. Sketch out your gingerbread house pattern and cut it out before you begin.
- For the Cookie Dough:
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/3 cups light or dark molasses
- 9 cups all-purpose flour
- For the Icing Cement:
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons water
- 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
Line 12 x 15-inch rimless baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon. Beat in the molasses and whipped cream mixture until well-combined.
With mixer running, gradually add flour, beating until completely mixed.
Lightly flour a pastry board or mat. Roll out a portion of the dough until flat, but not so thin that you cannot pick it up without it tearing. Drape it over the rolling pin and move to the prepared baking sheet.
Continue rolling the dough to an even thickness on the baking sheet. This is easily achieved by placing two equally thick wooden strips on either side of the baking sheet to support the rolling pin. An even thickness is important. Lower areas will bake darker in color and be more brittle. You will need about 2 cups of dough for each 1/8-inch thickness, about 4 cups for each 1/4-inch slab, and about 6 cups for each 3/8-inch slab.
Bake two sheets of dough at a time. Bake until fairly firm in the center. The temperature and time will vary with the thickness of the slab. For 1/8-thick slabs, bake in preheated 300 F. oven for about 1 hour; for 1/4-inch slabs, bake at 275 F. about 1-3/4 hours; and for 3/8-inch slabs, bake at 275 F. about 2 1/4 hours.
After 30 minutes, position your gingerbread house pattern cut-outs as close together as possible on the sheet of cookies. Cut around the pattern with a sharp knife, remove the pattern, and separate the scrap pieces (may be baked later to eat). Return house pieces to the oven, swapping their rack positions, and continue to bake.
While the pieces are baking, any remaining dough may be rolled out for cookies or additional decorative gingerbread house pieces.
When pieces are finished baking, loosen gently with a flat spatula and let them cool on the sheet another 5 to 10 minutes before moving to a rack to cool completely.
At this point, you may wrap the gingerbread house pieces airtight in plastic wrap and store up to one month. Or proceed to assemble and decorate your house or cookies using icing cement (below).
Yield: about 9 cups dough, or 4-1/2 slabs 1/8 inch thick, 2-1/2 slabs 1/4 inch thick, or 1-1/2 slabs 3/8 inch thick. Each full slab is 10 by 15 inches.
Beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and water until frothy. Blend in sugar on high speed until stiff, 5 to 10 minutes. Use immediately or cover and use within 8 hours.