Gingerbread Dough for Making Houses + Royal Icing

I am making gingerbread houses with my neighbor boys who are 8 and 10 this week and this is a good recipe. It is too hard to eat, but after many years of making gingerbread houses, this one does work and holds up well. One year, I saved our gingerbread in the basement with all the other stuff and found that the cat or dog had licked it to death – So it may be edible for some creatures.

This makes thin very stiff and strong dough. The recipe is Loreta’s Favorite Gingerbread Dough, with a few changes. You can double the recipe for more dough.

Gingerbread Dough for Making Houses and other non-edible things

5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ginger
3 teaspoons cinnamon (or use Raz el hanout to replace all 3 spices)
3 teaspoon nutmeg
3 teaspoon cloves
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons molasses
2 egg, beaten

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, salt, and spices. Mix with a whisk to combine. Put the dough hook on the mixer.

In medium saucepan, melt shortening on stove over low heat. When shortening is half melted, remove from heat and continue to stir until completely melted. Add sugar, molasses and beaten eggs. Mix well and quickly (to prevent eggs from cooking). Add molasses mixture to flour mixture, running mixer on low speed. Dough will be soft. Divide into two halves, flatten into discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, overnight if possible.

When dough is firm enough to handle, remove from refrigerator and let sit until room temperature (about an hour). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prevent aluminum foil from slipping, wipe counter with wet sponge then smooth aluminum foil over damp counter. This will prevent the foil from slipping while dough is being rolled out.

Working with one half of the dough, roll onto aluminum foil that has been sprinkled with flour. Sprinkle dough with flour to prevent dough from sticking to rolling-pin.

You’ll be first cutting out the two tree pieces and baking them at the same time, then roll out and cut the partridge and pears to be baked together as they won’t need as much time in the oven.

Roll dough to about 1/8” thickness. Sprinkle more flour on the dough. Place the two tree pattern pieces onto dough and cut-out dough pieces. Remove excess dough pieces, knead together and wrap in plastic, you’ll be using it in a moment to make the bird and pears. If your pattern has stuck to the dough at this point, refrigerate for 15 minutes, it should be easier to remove the pattern pieces. Lift entire piece of foil and place on large cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in fridge for 15 minutes to allow dough to firm up again.

Place cookie sheet in oven. Check frequently to prevent burning. Bake until golden brown. Large pieces may bake as long as 14 minutes. Smaller pieces might take 6–7 minutes. Unused dough may be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks (bring to room temperature and knead briefly to use again). For the Partridge In A Pear Tree I baked the large tree pieces for 16 minutes, and the bird and pears for 8 minutes.

When dough pieces are done baking, remove baking sheet from oven. Make sure the slots are still straight, fixing them now if needed while the dough is soft enough and still on the cookie sheet. Quickly lift foil from baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool. If pieces have curled up during baking, while still warm, gently push edges down to lay flat. When gingerbread pieces are completely cool carefully peel the tin foil off the bottom.
Allow the gingerbread to rest for 12-24 hours.

And now for the royal icing…

Royal icing recipe from will be the glue and decoratons.

Royal Icing

1 pound confectioners’ sugar
5 tablespoons meringue powder
scant 1/2 cup water, more if needed

With an electric mixer on low speed, beat ingredients until fluffy, 7 to 8 minutes. Use immediately, or transfer to an airtight container (royal icing hardens quickly when exposed to air) and refrigerate up to 1 week. Stir well with a flexible spatula before using.

Thin icing as needed by stirring in additional water, one teaspoon at a time. For piping designs, add just enough water that icing is no longer stiff; for floodwork, add water until icing is the consistency of honey.

Image Credit:  wickenden

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