December is already here and while I should be busy baking, I’m actually recovering from the worst flu I’ve ever had in my life. I know… not a great topic of conversation on a food blog – sorry! Rather than go any longer without posting some yummy Christmas goodness (and to keep from going insane while waiting for the yuckiness to pass) I thought I’d share my go-to recipe for gingerbread houses (given to me by my mother in law) and a few pics of gingerbread structures from past Christmases. Enjoy!
Gingerbread cookie dough (makes enough for 6 small houses)
- 5 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 egg*
*For vegan cookie dough use unbleached cane sugar and egg replacer for 1 egg. Ener-G works great!
Sift dry ingredients together into a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, beat together wet ingredients until well mixed. Combine wet and dry ingredients and beat to form a stiff dough. Roll out approximately 1/4 of the dough at a time on a well floured surface. Use a lot of flour! Use cookie cutters or draft your own pattern onto a piece of paper and use a sharp knife. Arrange on a cookie sheet and bake at 300* F for 20 minutes or until firm. Cool 5 minutes, then slide off and cool on a rack. If you’re using this recipe for cookies and not a gingerbread house, don’t store these with softer cookies or they won’t be crisp, and store in an airtight container. If making a house, follow instructions with whatever template you use to assemble.
For the icing “glue” I always use Wilton’s royal icing recipe, in a medium-stiff consistency. If making vegan houses, you can try this recipe from Food.com for egg-less royal icing. I’ve never tried it but it got a good rating!