Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gingerbread House {Recipe}

Gingerbread House 101

Every year I host a Gingerbread House Party and invite some people for a confectionary extravaganza that turns out some unique and beautiful houses. If you’ve never made one of these beauties, this is the year! I’ve got a great recipe for gingerbread dough, and icing, and a step by step tutorial to get you from baking to decorating in no time flat. Let’s get started.

Start with making the gingerbread house dough. This recipe makes about 2 houses the size of the template you can find here:

Gingerbread House Dough

  • 1 ¾ c. flour
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. ground allspice
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ½ c. margarine (not oil) softened
  • ½ c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • Scant ¼ c. molasses (to double, use 1/3 c.)
  • 1 whole egg

Now, let me insert here that I don’t eat my gingerbread houses. They are purely decoration. This being said, I use margarine instead of butter when I bake them. If I were going to make these into cookies I would use butter. But since I am making a good dozen and a half houses every Christmas, I go for the cheaper butter-alternative and use margarine.

Alright, let’s get mixing.

In a medium bowl mix together flour, cinnamon, ginger, salt, soda, and allspice. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat vanilla, butter, and sugar for about five minutes--or until mixture is light and fluffy. Mixture will not be completely smooth. Beat in molasses and egg until blended and scrape down the sides of the bowl once. Beat in flour mixture on low speed until well blended. Divide dough into 2 equal parts, and flatten each piece of dough into a circle. Wrap pieces in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

 WB Gingerbread House

Hopefully by this time you have a plan for your house. Do you want windows? A door that stands open? Plain sides and front? If you want the standard cut outs, proceed as specified. If you would like some windows, let’s say, then you will want to line your cookie sheets with parchment paper, cut out the window shape you want, crush up some hard candies (like lifesavers or jolly ranchers) into teeny tiny pieces and sprinkle them evenly into your window cavity. Then proceed as indicated. The sky is really the limit here. Do whatever the inner architect in you is yearning for.

Next, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease large cookie sheets, or line them with parchment. If you’re doing the candy windows, please use parchment paper. My first time I didn’t, and the windows stuck to the pan. It was a mini tragedy.

Once your pans are ready, remove plastic wrap from one piece of dough and place it on a heavily floured surface. Roll out the dough with a thickly floured rolling pin to 1/8 inch thickness. Keep the remaining dough refrigerated until needed.

~For house template, and decorating instructions click here for the full tutorial.~

Gingerbread House Glue (Royal Frosting)

  • 2 c. Confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ t. cream of tartar

Please note, you will want your frosting to be very thick and cement-like. You will get a VERY thick frosting from this recipe. If it is thinner, you will have trouble getting your house to stay together without having to hold it in place for a long time. If you would like your frosting to be a bit thinner, you can play around by adding more egg whites, or sugar, depending on the consistency you want.

Mix all ingredients together until thick and firm. Scoop into frosting bags with a rubber spatula. This recipe will fill one frosting bag very full. You can get disposable frosting bags at your favorite craft store in the cake decorating aisle. You may also use a Ziploc like I did in the beginning, snipping off a corner. Be aware that you may end up with blowouts from the Ziploc popping apart midway through decorating. Otherwise, these can be a good alternative in a pinch.

WB 272

For detailed building and decorating instructions – with photos – click here for the full tutorial.

I hope this becomes something you enjoy from year to year. Merry Christmas from the WhipperChicks!

Christene Sig

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