Can you believe that it has already been 12 weeks? I am amazed at how quickly this fall and winter flew by me (and that I actually did all 12 weeks, I may have a habit of starting things and not finishing them). I love the holidays, but I am really ready to get everything done and hunker down on the couch with my family for a few days. We are pretty mellow and low key about Christmas. When my husband and I got married years ago, we said that Santa would always come to our house and that we would not travel. I am so glad that we made that decision. We love to visit family, but the hustle and bustle of holiday travel with three little ones is not something that I am eager to do. So I look forward to my husband’s time off where we can cuddle and watch movies or take a day trip or two. And to do some of my favorite Christmas activities and traditions.
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is making a gingerbread house. I remember being a little girl and making one with my Nonnie. I would go to her house after school and we would work on the house together. I loved doing it with her and told myself that I would do it with my own children. I have done many houses since then and I look forward to it every year.
This is the gingerbread dough that I use to make the houses and regular gingerbread cookies. I make a few batches and chill them overnight. When you are making a house, you want to use a cold dough. It will be easier to work with. Over the next few days, I will give you some tips for making houses, but today, I am just going to start with the dough.
5 to 5 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup room temperature butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 room temperature egg
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
Cream together the butter and brown sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
Pour in the molasses. I spray the measuring cup with cooking spray so that it slides right out.
Scrape the bowl.
Slowly add the flour mixture.
As soon as the flour is incorporated, turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper.
I use the paper to form the dough into a rectangle shape. Wrap up the dough and chill for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
Roll out the dough onto a floured surface, about a 1/4 inch thick. Flour the rolling pin and use either a cookie cutter, or your gingerbread templates. Put on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or tin foil. Bake for about 15 to 17 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let the pieces cool completely on the cookie sheet before you move them.
From here, you can decorate them as you wish, or build a house with them.