For a long time my family made gingerbread houses, but we never ate the gingerbread. It was too hard to eat. It felt like biting down on a jawbreaker. Not to mention assembling the house is a pain. So I decided to adjust the house structure by baking softer, tastier walls (that are still strong) and by just making the front of the house.
The best part about this recipe is that even though it is left out uncovered, the cookie is still good. I know this, because year after year, there is nothing left of it.
This recipe is also my super duper favorite sugar cookie recipe of all time!! I don’t care for crispy sugar cookies. I want them soft, soft, soft! I know some people may poo poo it because it has shortening in it, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! You can totally use part butter/part shortening instead, or just butter, but it just won’t be as soft.
Oh! I also love my cookies a 1/4″ thick (or thicker), and my sugar cookie house walls about 3/8″ thick. So you’ll want to double or triple the recipe below.
Ethel’s Sugar Cookies
3/4 cup of shortening (or part or all butter)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Mix shortening, sugar, eggs and flavoring thoroughly. Sift flour. Stir flour, baking powder, and slat together first, then blend in well with wet mixture. Chill at least 1 hour.
Heat oven to 400º. Roll dough 1/4 thick on lightly floured surface. Use free template to cut out house shape, or design your own. For the round base, I used my glass that’s about 3.5″ in diameter. If you don’t have a glass that size, use the template provided.
Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake about 7 to 8 min. I don’t like any brown on the bottom of my sugar cookie. You can tell when the cookie has a more matte finish on the top that it’s done. If it starts to show a little tan on the bottom of the cookie, pull them out.
After baking, remove cookies from the pan onto a cooling rack. Cool completely (about 40 minutes).
Here is the best and super easy part! So goodbye to traditional royal icing, and say hello to hot caramel! I learned this tip from Martha Stewart. Click on link for directions. But you have to move fast, because the caramel drys very quickly. Best super glue ever!
You can have the door to your house open or closed. Once your house is up, you can frost and decorate as desired.
Here is the quick icing recipe I used.
Blend 1 1/2 cups shifted confectioners sugar, 1/4 tsp. vanilla, and enough cream (2 to 3 tbsp.) to make a thin icing. Add food coloring for color.
Grab your favorite candy and decorate your heart out! You’ll love how simple this is to make and assemble.