Gingerbread House Recipe

2 cups solid shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups dark molasses
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Approximately 10 cups all-purpose flour
Decorator Icing
Oven:  375º

In a large heavy pan, heat shortening, sugar and molasses on low, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; add cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Stir in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough can be formed into a ball. Turn dough onto lightly floured board; knead until even in color and smooth. Form into a log. Cut into 5 equal pieces and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill.

Cut patterns out of paper or cardboard. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease the foil. Lay a damp towel on counter; place prepared pan on towel (to prevent slipping). Unwrap one portion of dough. Using a very lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough directly on baking sheet to a 15x10-1/2" rectangle about 1/4" thick. Position patterns at least 1/2" apart on dough as shown. Cut around patterns with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Cover and save patterns and dough scraps to re-roll if needed. Bake 10-14 minutes or until cookie springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven; immediately replace patterns on cookie. Trim off excess. Cool 3-4 minutes or until cookies begin to firm up. Carefully remove to a wire rack for cooling. Repeat with remaining dough and patterns.

To add sides, squeeze icing on lower edge of one side section and side edge of the front piece. Align pieces at right angles tightly. Repeat with other side. To add back squeeze icing on bottom and side edges of back piece; position with other assembled pieces. For add stability, squeeze icing along inside edge of all pieces and corners. To assemble roof working with one side at a time, squeeze icing on upper edge of slant of front and back pieces on one side. Also squeeze icing on adjoining side section. Carefully place roof piece on slants so that roof's peak is even with points of front and back allowing ½-inch overhang. Repeat with other side of roof.  Add chimney if desired. Decorate house with remaining icing, candies and cookies of choice.

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