I made some gingerbread using this recipe, and then found a great pattern for a gingerbread house over at Chocolate on My Cranium. I like this pattern because you can cut the entire house out of a single sheet of gingerbread.
I spread the dough out on top of some parchment paper on a cookie sheet, baked, cut the pieces out (in the pan), then put the pan back in the oven (with the oven off) to let the pieces harden up a little more. The picture is of the raw dough.
After 10 more minutes in the turned-off ofen, I took the parchment sheet (with the pieces) off the cookie sheet and laid it out on a rack to finish cooling. You can cut pieces out to look nicer than this, but I was making a house with a two-year-old and I wasn’t being detail-oriented. My pieces are rather thick; next time I would probably spread the gingerbread more thinly (although the thickness did make it so the walls stood up very nicely).
We made some Royal Icing (1 Tablespoon meringue powder, 2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon warm water, and 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar made enough for this house) and decorated. I put on the frosting and Emma stuck on M&Ms and mini marshmallows. Johnny sat on my lap and grabbed any M&Ms he could and stuffed them in his mouth as quickly as possible.