I know it's not quite yet Thanksgiving, but I have GINGERBREAD HOUSES on the brain already! I love gingerbread time! And since I make north of 100 gingerbread houses each year, I need to start early.
In a heavy duty stand mixer, combine shortening and sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fluffy after each addition. Add the molasses, salt, soda, ginger, and cinnamon. Mix completely. Add teh flour, one cup at a time. This is a stiff dough, but even so, you might not need quite all six cups if you're in a very dry climate. Use your judgment. If the dough is starting to crumble and not hold together, no more flour!
Roll the dough to an even 18" thickness and cut out the shapes for your gingerbread house.
This is just the basic recipe in this post, but I shared all my favorite gingerbread tips and tricks on the Frog Prince Paperie blog a couple years ago. It's essential reading for anyone attempting to make a gingerbread house this year! Seriously. You will kick yourself if you don't use the techniques we've developed over decades of experience and thousands of gingerbread houses. Read it. I'll wait.
Back? Great. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Let cool and construct the gingerbread house.
I'm a big advocate for the A-frame style gingerbread house. Especially if you're making a bunch of houses. It's easy and fast to construct--much more so than a traditional 4-walls-and-a-roof style house. And it has a quaint, chalet-style Germanic charm that's perfect for gingerbread houses.
To make things even easier for you, this year I've prepared printable templates that you can download and use to make your own A-frame gingerbread houses. I am definitely not gifted at using Adobe Illustrator, but though not elegant, it'll get the job done for you. And look at least as good as the original templates I cut out of a paper grocery sack many years ago.
Are you planning to make a gingerbread house this year? I'd love to see your creations! Share the photos on the Tikkido Facebook page.
Edit: I posted the standard shape gingerbread house templates (like the photo just above) here.