Gingerbread House Cookie Building Slabs
(This dough can also be used to make gingerbread people and/or cookies)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/3 cups light or dark molasses
9 cups all purpose flour
Icing Cement (recipe below)
Whip cream and vanilla until cream holds soft peaks. In a large bowl, mix sugar, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon. Stir in molasses and cream. Gradually add flour, mixing well. On a lightly floured board, roll our a portion of dough until it's flat but still thick enough to pick up easily without tearing. Place it on a greased and floured 12 by 15 inch rimless baking sheet.
Finish rolling dough on pan, supporting the rolling pin on equally thick wooden strips placed along opposite edges of the pan. Use about 2 cups dough for each 1/8 inch thick slab, about 4 cups for each 1/4 inch slab and about 6 cups for each 3/8 inch slab. If the cookies are not evenly thick, the thin areas bake darker in color and are more brittle.
You can bake up to 2 pans of dough at a time in 1 oven. Bake dough until fairly firm when pressed in the center-in a 300 degree F. oven. Allow about 1 hour for 1/8 inch thick slabs; in a 275 F. oven, allow about 1 3/4 hours for a 1/4 inch slabs and about 2 1/4 hours for 3/8 inch slab.
After 30 minutes, remove pans from oven and place pattern pieces close together on the dough; with a sharp knife, cut around pattern edges; lift off pattern and scraps. Return both pans to oven, switching their positions, and finish baking. Meanwhile, roll out remaining dough to make cookies and other special features.
When done, carefully loosen cookies with a spatula; cool on pan until firm, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Decorate and assemble structure with icing cement or wrap pieces airtight and store up to 1 month; cookies keep crisp longer, but do not taste as fresh.
With and electric mixer, beat 2 large egg whites, 1/8 teaspoon cream of tarter, and 2 teaspoons water until frothy. Mix in 3 cups sifted powdered sugar; beat on high speed until icing is stiff, 5 to 10 minutes. Use, or cover up to 8 hours. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.