5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 ¼ cups molasses (corn syrup works if you want lighter gingerbread)
2 eggs, beaten
In large saucepan, melt shortening on stove over low heat. While shortening is melting, in a separate bowl stir together flour, salt and spices (if using for cookies, add 1 tsp. baking soda). When shortening is half melted, remove from heat and continue to stir until completely melted. Add sugar, molasses and beaten eggs. Mix well and quickly (to prevent eggs from cooking). Add molasses mixture to flour mixture. Mix well. Dough will be soft. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to handle.
Roll dough out onto parchment paper to about 1/8-1/4" thick, then cut into shapes. Bake at 350 for 9-15 minutes depending on size of piece.
Allow to completely cool and harden before assembling house.
*1 recipe makes about 2 houses.