1 C plus 2 T brown sugar
1 C Crisco solid shortening
3 T molasses
1 ½ t salt
2 t baking soda
6 C flour
1 T ginger
1 T cinnamon
Cream the shortening and sugar in a large stand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until fluffy. Add the molasses, salt, soda, ginger, and cinnamon. Mix completely. Add the flour, one cup at a time. The dough will become very stiff, and the bowl will be quite full. Once the flour is incorporated, turn the mixer off. It is a very stiff dough, and the object is to incorporate the flour, nothing more.
Roll dough to a generous 1/8” thickness directly on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Trace around paper stencils (available for publication) to cut out the walls and roof of a gingerbread house. Lift away the excess dough on the cookie sheet with a spatula or knife. Be sure to leave some space between the pieces—the dough does expand while baking.
Bake at 375 degrees for between 10 and 14 minutes. Slightly over-baked (short of burning) is better than slightly under-baked as you need rigidity for constructing gingerbread houses.
Let the cookie pieces cool completely before assembly—even overnight. When cooling and storing, do not stack the pieces. Ice with royal icing.
ROYAL ICING~ Beat 3 egg whites,a 2 lb. pound bag powdered sugar,1 tsp cream of tartar, and 1/4 cup water on high speed til mixed well...... thin with 1 tablespoon water at a time until desired consistency....I have never had an issue with raw egg whites in the 40 years I have done cookies, but you can substitute with meringue powder if you please.