*Note: do not substitute margarine or oil for butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Slice cube of butter into 4-6 slices, put in microwavable bowl and melt in microwave, about 1 min. on high, it should not boil. Mix butter, molasses, and egg yolk together in small bowl with a fork or large spoon. Pour wet mixture into dry ingredients and stir until it is all mixed together. The dough will be thick and slightly dry. After you have shaped and cut the dough, bake it for 20-25 minutes or until very firm.
Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on the counter area where you are going to roll out the dough. The paper will make it much easier to roll out the dough and move it onto the baking stone or baking sheet. You can roll this dough out to 1/4" thinkness to make cookies using a cookie cutter.
Or, if you are building a house, create a paper pattern to use for cutting each side of the house. Then, follow these general instructions:
Break off a piece of the dough for the first wall and work it in your hands to take out any air pockets. Flatten the ball with your hands on the paper. Put another sheet of paper on top of it and use the rolling pin to roll it out to 1/4" thickness. (Note: you can buy 1/4" wood dowel at the local hardware store to use as guides for your rolling pin). Take off the top paper and put the pattern on top of the flattened dough and cut out the wall. (Note: if you use computer paper for the pattern it might stick to the dough a little bit but that is OK. It just adds texture to your house. Or you may transfer the pattern to parchment or wax paper if you do not want it to stick). Remove the excess dough, remove the pattern piece, trim the parchment around the piece and move it to the baking sheet. Use the same steps for all four wall pieces, roof pieces, chimney, and walkway. To make the walkway have a textured appearance, sprinkle raw sugar on it before baking. If you have extra dough you can make free-form or cookie cutter pine trees, or Bill Gates accessories like mousepad, CD-ROM or dat tape.
Put all ingredients in a non-plastic bowl. Mix with an electric mixer on the highest speed until the frosting stays in peaks when you lift it with a spoon, about 5 minutes. Keep frosting covered with plastic wrap when not using so it stays moist. Color it with food coloring for decorating. If you are decorating large areas of the house you may need a second batch of frosting.
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