This gingerbread dough is great for making houses. Be sure to roll it on the thicker side to keep it sturdy, and err on the side of overbaking so it stays firm and is less likely to break. While normally not a fan of shortening (team butter 100%!), I use it in this recipe because it's higher melting point makes the dough easier to handle—plus, most gingerbread houses I make aren't for eating, just for fun! —Erin McDowell
about 4 pounds dough (i made two batches for my very large house)
1 1/2 cups
shortening (can sub half or all with butter, if desired)
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening (or butter, if using) and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes.
Add the molasses and mix well to combine, about 30 seconds more. Scrape the bowl well.
Add the eggs one at a time, scraping well after each is incorporated.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture to the mixer and mix on low speed to combine.
Scrape the bowl well to make sure the dough is homogenous, then divide it into 2 or 3 discs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled—at least 4 hours, and up to overnight.
When you’re ready to use the dough, roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper to about 1/3-1/2 inch thick (you don’t want to roll it too thin, like traditional cookies or pastry, because you need it to be sturdy!). Peel the parchment away occasionally while you work to make sure it’s not sticking.
When the dough has reached the right thickness, peel the top piece of parchment away, and transfer the bottom piece of parchment (with the rolled out dough on it!) to a baking sheet. Use a template to cut the dough into the appropriate shapes for your house.
Bake the gingerbread at 375° F—exact baking times will vary based on the size and shape of your gingerbread, but look for the edges to be noticeably brown and the surface to appear dry and set. It’s best to err on the side of overbaking. Underbaked gingerbread can be flimsy and not stand up well when you go to build.
Let all pieces cool completely before you begin to build!
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.