- 2 sticks (8-ounces) butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 5 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cold water
In a mixing bowl, on medium speed, cream together the butter, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Add the molasses, mixing until incorporated. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, and mix each cup until just combined. With the mixer running, slowly add the water. Spread the dough out on a sheet pan, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until you're ready to roll it out (ideally overnight, three hours minimum).
Keep gingerbread cool while working with it. Dust with flour to avoid sticking. Brush away excess flour after cutting.
Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Apply even pressure on rolling pin to avoid variance in thickness. Cut out house pieces using your cardboard templates. A dough wheel works best. Use a paring knife for corners.
Bake pieces in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes or until dough is set well. Crisp gingerbread is a must for a lasting structure. Allow pieces to cool completely before assembly-overnight is ideal. If pans are not level transfer warm pieces carefully onto the counter surface so they set completely flat.
Mix royal icing and keep covered with a damp towel. Assemble house on the a 12-inch round base of your choice. Start with a front piece and a side piece using royal icing liberally on the inside. The 2 pieces should stand without assistance. Assemble remaining pieces in the same fashion. Roof pieces may need support to counteract gravity, sugar boxes, soda cans work well.
- 10 rolls Necco Wafer, possibly more depending on number of houses
- 2 pounds chocolate covered raisins
- 1 pound hard candies, assorted colors
- 1 pound cinnamon red hots
- 2 bags mini-malted milkballs, coated in assorted colors
- Assorted Christmas candies, your choice