Mix all of the gingerbread house ingredients until combined well. The dough should not be too dry, or overly moist. You can add a Tablespoon of water at a time, until it can be wet enough to come together without being crumbly, but not sticky wet.
Place cling wrap on top of bowl, and place in fridge several hours, although overnight or longer is ideal.
Remove and let sit until soft enough to press into a standard sized cookie sheet. If you are unsure of size, test placing your patterns on the sheet first, to see they will all fit.
Press dough into a lightly greased cookie sheet. You can wet your hands to prevent the dough from sticking to you, but be conservative in water, so that it does not become too sticky. I use a rolling pin to get it as flat as possible and then wet my hands to get it to the edges.
The good thing about this recipe is that it is very forgiving. If it starts to become too sticky just sprinkle a little flour, and press/pat it in. You want the dough to cover the entire cookie sheet from side to side. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and place pattern on hot bread immediately. The bread will harden very fast, and make cutting your pieces difficult if you don't work quickly.
The front of the house has the door cut out, the back does not. The roof pieces are the two larger rectangles about 6"x5", and the sides are the two smaller pieces about 4"x5".
I lay out all my pieces immediately on top of the bread, and then cut them all at once. Then I get a very large spatula, and very carefully lift the pieces out. This is the tricky part. If you safely get the pieces out of here and then lay them on a cooling rack, so that they can harden and dry out, you will be golden! If any of them happen to crack and break, I let them harden, and then use the frosting to mend them back together.
If you are using all-purpose flour, they will harden very quickly, and you can make your frosting and start building your house. If you are using gluten free, it is better if you can let them sit in the air for 8-12 hours so that they can harden a bit more.
Once ready to construct and decorate, I found that it is super helpful to have 4 small glasses. As I stand a wall up, I put a glass near it to help give it some balance while the frosting sets. As I move around from front, to side, to back, to final side, I set a glass on the exterior wall of each front of side.
For the royal icing if you are looking for an egg free version use the recipe as is listed above. You will get a handheld mixer and mix until it is smooth. For a thicker frosting add a T of powdered sugar at a time, until you achieve desired thickness. For thinner frosting, add a T of water at a time until you achieve desired thinness.
Once you have your frosting made, you can scoop it into a gallon sized ziplock bag, snip off the bottom corner, and use it as a piping bag. Use the frosting to adhere the sides, front, back, door, and chimney together. Additionally, use it to adhere any candy decorations to your gingerbread house.
Finally, if you are looking for a great traditional Royal Frosting, there is the one we use with egg whites:
5 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 lb powdered sugar
beat until light and fluffy, and follow directions as listed above for adhering house together and decorating. This frosting gets hard fast, so you will want to cover your bowl with a kitchen towel, or cling wrap while waiting to load more into your piping bag.