Make and bake the gingerbread cookie dough and then let your kids help cut it into house shapes. Set out the decorated house fronts at your holiday meal.
1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cloves and pepper; set aside.
2. In large mixer bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg and molasses until combined. Add flour mixture; beat until a dough forms. Halve dough, wrap in plastic wrap, flatten into disks and chill until firm, about 45 minutes.
3. Heat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a floured work surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll out dough to 18-inch thickness. Using template and a small knife, cut out houses and transfer to prepared sheets. Bake until set, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks and let cool 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and let cool completely.
4. Transfer 1 cup icing to a decorating bag fitted with a small plain tip (tip number 3). Secure end of bag with a rubber band, squeezing out air. Decorate facades with icing and candy. (When not using bag, place, tip side down, in a tall glass with a damp paper towel in the bottom so icing doesn't harden in tip.)
1. In large bowl, with mixer on low, beat together all ingredients until well combined. Increase speed to high, and continue beating until stiff peaks form. If not using immediately, press plastic wrap directly onto surface of icing and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (Bring icing to room temperature before using.)