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Gingerbread Dough and Royal Icing

information, recipes and photos from “Making Great Gingerbread Houses,” Lark Books, a division of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Published: October 1, 2005
Gingerbread Dough
This recipe makes enough dough for the basic cabins shown here. Use a heavy-duty mixer to ease the dough-making process, or enjoy the old-fashioned practice of kneading the dough.

  •     1 cup butter
  •     3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed         
  •     3/4 cup molasses
  •     5 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  •     2 teaspoons baking soda
  •     2 teaspoons cinnamon
  •     2 teaspoons ground ginger
  •     1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  •     1 teaspoon salt
  •     3/4 cup cold water

1. Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Add molasses; blend on low speed.

3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Add to sweet mixture and blend until all the flour is absorbed.

4. Add and blend the cold water.

5. Spread the dough out on a sheet pan, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to roll it out (ideally overnight; 3 hours minimum).

Royal Icing
This recipe should provide enough icing to construct and decorate the cabin. Because the icing eventually dries out, cut this recipe in half and make it in two batches: first to construct the cabin, the second half when ready to decorate.

  •     5 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  •     1/2 cup egg whites
  •     1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1.  Sift the sugar after measuring it.

2. Add the egg whites and cream of tartar to the sugar. Combine the ingredients with a hand mixer on low speed, then beat them on high for 2-5 minutes until snow-white and fluffy. Keep icing bowl covered with a damp towel to retain moisture as the mixture crusts quickly when exposed to air.

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