Gingerbread House Dough
Recipe makes enough dough for one house plus decorative pieces, such as trees, walkway, snowman, etc. Or, use any remaining dough to cut out gingerbread ornaments for your tree.
2 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1 1/4 cups light (mild) molasses
9 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
Using a whisk, in n very large bowl, beat brown sugar, cream, and molasses until sugar lumps dissolve and mixture is smooth. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and ginger. Using a spoon, stir flour mixture into cream mixture in 3 additions until dough is too stiff to stir, then knead with your hands until flour is incorporated and dough is smooth.
Divide dough into 4 equal portions; flatten each into a disk shape to speed chilling. Wrap each disk well with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until dough is firm enough to roll.
Grease and flour or use Pan Release to grease a large cookie sheets (12" by 18"). Roll out dough, 1 disk at a time on each cookie sheet to about 3/16-inch thickness. (Placing 3/16-inch dowels or rulers on either side of dough to use as a guide will help roll dough to uniform thickness.)
Trim excess dough from cookie sheet; re-wrap any remaining dough and store in refrigerator. Chill rolled dough on cookie sheet in refrigerator or freezer at least 10 minutes or until firm enough to cut easily.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Use chilled rolled dough, floured poster board house patterns, and sharp paring knife to cut all house pieces on cookie sheet, making sure to leave at least 1 1/4 inches between pieces because dough will expand slightly during baking. Re-wrap trimmings and store in refrigerator. Combine and use trimmings as necessary to complete house and other decorative pieces. Cut and bake large pieces and small pieces separately.
Brush house pieces lightly with water before baking. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until pieces are firm to the touch. Do not overbake; pieces will be too crisp to trim to proper size.
Remove cookie sheet from oven. While house pieces are still warm, place poster-board patterns on top and use them as guides to trim shapes to match if necessary. Cool pieces completely on cookie sheets before removing.
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