Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gingerbread House Tutorial and Recipe

There's nothing quite like making a whimsical gingerbread house during the Christmas season. I have fond memories of making houses with my brothers and sister and sneaking nibbles of candy all December long. We made one last year. Here's how.

First, make and bake the gingerbread.

4 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
2 TB baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp clove
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup shortening
2/3 cup molasses
2 eggs

Mix together. Grease and flour pan; use either a large sheet cake pan, or divide dough and make thinner gingerbread in two cookie sheets. Press/roll into pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. If using the smaller cookie sheets, reduce baking time to 18 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes. 
While gingerbread is still warm and soft, cut out shapes for the gingerbread house. 
We used the same pattern my mother always used. Just do a Google search for free gingerbread house patterns, find one you like. Print it off and cut it out, then cut out warm gingerbread. (If you're a novice, I suggest sticking with a very basic pattern-like mine-and just going nuts with the candy.) 
Cool the cut out pieces on a rack.  

Make royal icing:

Royal Icing
3 egg whites (or 8 TB of water combined with 8 teaspoons meringue powder if you prefer to avoid raw eggs)
6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. almond extract or white vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in bowl and beat on medium high for a full 10 minutes. Icing will become thick and glossy but will not increase in volume. Keep covered with damp cloth while using, removing small portions to bowl as needed. Tint if desired. To thin, add a few drops of water. Royal icing hardens with a nice sheen.

Put into a piping bag with a basic tip or just be lazy like me and put into a Ziploc bag with the tip cut off.

Coat a cookie sheet with tinfoil. Use the royal icing like mortar and build your house. Put down a layer of icing, place the gingerbread on top of it and hold it for a minute. It sets up fairly quickly and it sets up hard. Build your base.

Then add the roof.

Now it's time for the candy! We get a variety of objects at the bulk candy section at Winco. Fun ideas include using Necco wafers or mini Shredded Wheat for roof shingles, using rock candy for a stone wall, and building trees with green gumdrops.

Use the icing like glue and place your candy.

A light layer of powdered of powdered sugar creates a dusting of snow.

You gotta have Santa on the roof with presents.

You're done! Enjoy your masterpiece (and sneak a piece of candy!).


Beckie said...

Love it- never will do it- but love it!!!

Meagan said...

Oh love this! Some day we will do gingerbread houses! Very fun!


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