Gingerbread Recipe

Sugar and spice and everything nice.

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Copy and cut paper templates, and prepare the base while dough is chilling.

1 cup butter, softenend
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup unsulphured molasses
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper
Crushed yellow hard candies (about ¼ cup)

1 to 2 batches Royal Icing
1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate morsels, melted (optional)*
Stick pretzels, cut in half
Black rope licorice
Chocolate nonpereils or almond brickle
Candy rocks
Red licorice twists
Crushed blue, green, or white hard candies
Rock candy
White chocolate-covered pretzels
Candy lobsters, fish

* NOTE: Melted chocolate can be used to attach lighthouse walls together instead of Royal Icing.

Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric mixer until creamy; gradually add brown sugar, beating well. Add eggs and molasses; beat well.

Combine flour and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Add to butter mixture gradually, beating at low speed until blended. Shape dough into 3 flat disks. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Roll 1 portion of dough onto a large sheet of parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness. (Place a lightly damp paper towel under parchment to prevent parchment from moving.) Lightly dust rolled dough with flour to prevent template from sticking. Place template on dough and cut with a knife or straight-edged utensil; remove excess dough. Place on baking sheet.

Bake at 350° for 10 to 14 minutes. Slide parchment paper to cooling rack; cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough and templates.

For window panels (See wall template and illustration above), bake separately at 350° for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven and spoon crushed candy into center. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes until candy has melted and gingerbread is firm. Cool on parchment on a wire rack.

Royal Icing

Constructing the lighthouse may take 2 batches of icing. Prepare the second recipe only after running out―the icing will dry out if prepared too far in advance. Keep bowl of icing covered with a damp dishtowel to prevent drying.

1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons meringue powder
6 to 8 tablespoons warm water

Beat ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer until blended. Beat at high speed 4 to 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. If icing is too stiff, add additional water, ¼ teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency. Makes 3 cups.

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