In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and baking soda together until the mixture is smooth. Blend in the flour and cream to make a stiff dough. Chill at least 30 minutes or until firm.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 to 1/16-inch thickness and cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters. (The thinner you roll the dough, the crispier the cookies will be). Place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned. Slide cookies and parchment off the baking sheet onto the countertop to cool. Dip cooled cookies into melted white chocolate to decorate, or decorate with Royal Icing.
Mix all of the ingredients together using an electric hand mixer, until the icing is smooth and thin enough to be pressed through a pastry bag with a writing tip. Add more lemon juice, if necessary.
Gingerbread House/Box: Cut paper patterns for the gingerbread house: Five rectangles, 3 by 5 inches, to make the floor, walls and roof of the house, and two pieces for the ends of the house, 3 inches wide at the base, 3 inches to the roof line, and slanted to a peak 5 1/2 inches from the bottom. Roll gingerbread dough out to edges on a large, rimless cookie sheet. Place paper patterns onto the rolled out dough. With a sharp, straight edged knife, cut around each of the pieces, but leave pieces in place.
Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes until dough feels firm.
Place patterns on top of the gingerbread again and trim shapes, cutting edges with a straight-edged sharp knife. Leave to cool on baking sheet.
Place royal icing into pastry bag with a writing tip and press out to decorate individual parts of house, piping on decorations, windows, door, etc., as desired. Let dry until hardened.
Glue sides of house to base and at corners using royal icing. Place an object against the pieces to prop up until icing is dry (it only takes a few minutes).
Glue two pieces together to make the roof of the house, but do not attach roof to the house. (Fill house with cookies, then place roof on top).
Yield: One recipe of dough makes one house
Recipe courtesy of Beatrice Ojakangas