1. Print and cut out pattern templates. Click here to download a PDF of the templates for this house. Trace templates on foam board, heavy card stock or file folders. Cut out and label pattern pieces. If desired, cover pattern pieces with plastic wrap to keep them grease-free. (It is recommended that you “build” the gingerbread house first with pattern pieces to become familiar with how the house is constructed.)
2. Prepare Gingerbread recipe 4 times. (If using hand mixer, prepare 4 single batch recipes. If using stand mixer, prepare 2 double batch recipes.) Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, allspice, nutmeg and salt in large bowl; set aside.
3. Beat shortening and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; beat well. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as possible with mixer. Stir in any remaining mixture with spoon. Dough will be stiff. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
4. Dust rolling pin lightly with flour. Trim parchment paper to size of baking sheet. Roll out 1/4 of the chilled dough to about 3/8-inch thickness on parchment paper. Occasionally wipe rolling pin clean and dust with additional flour if dough begins to stick to rolling pin. Keep remaining dough refrigerated.
5. Arrange pattern templates on dough, leaving 1 inch between templates. Cut around templates with pizza wheel. (Using a pizza wheel instead of a knife is faster and causes less drag on the dough.) Use small sharp knife to cut out smaller areas of templates. Repeat rolling and cutting process until all of the templates have been cut out. (Dough scraps can be refrigerated and added to next batch of dough for rolling and cutting.) Gently slide parchment paper with dough onto baking sheets. To minimize distortion during baking, let cut-out dough stand at room temperature for 4 hours to overnight.
6. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake each baking sheet 35 to 40 minutes or until gingerbread pieces are hard to the touch. Cool baking sheets on wire racks until gingerbread pieces are cool enough to handle. Place gingerbread pieces on cutting board. Place pattern templates on gingerbread. Trim with pizza wheel or small knife to template size. (Sandpaper may be used if house is not going to be eaten.) Cool gingerbread completely before assembling gingerbread house with royal icing.
7. Prepare Royal Icing recipe 2 times. (If using hand mixer, prepare 2 single batch recipes. If using stand mixer, prepare 1 double batch recipe.) Beat all ingredients in large bowl with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. For stand mixer, beat on low speed 7 to 10 minutes. For hand mixer, beat on high speed 10 to 12 minutes. (If using stand mixer or for stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water per recipe.) Each single recipe yields 3 cups icing. (To keep pr