Gingerbread Houses

 I'm so excited to share these gingerbread houses with you guys <3. I love the adorable edible holiday houses. They are so cute and fun to decorate (or make if you're the baker). At first I thought these would be so easy. If it had been up to me I would have cut out the gingerbread shapes, baked them like cookies, and pasted them together with royal icing. But that's not the way my mom's recipe directed, and I was definitly using mom's recipe. The way to do this is a little odd (or totally normal if you've done this before). You roll out the dough directly onto the baking sheet, cut the shapes, and put everything into the oven to bake (i.e. leave the shapes in place surrounded by extra gingerbread). You re-cut the lines once they're out of the oven, let them cool, and then remove them. Supposedly this is supposed to keep the shapes from spreading too much. And while I did come up with perfectly cut gingerbread pieces, I'm still on the fence about the necessity of doing it this way. Either way, I ended up with a ton of leftover gingerbread scraps, and I've got a fun little recipe using them to show you all tomorrow. Have fun with these! They can easily become a tradition in your family, too. :)

Gingerbread House Dough (Makes 1 House)

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temp
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 cups all purpose flour
2 tbl ground cinnamon
2 tbl ground ginger
1 tbl ground cloves
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup water

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and baking soda. Set aside. Scrape down the sides of the stand mixer and add the molasses. Beat to combine. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and water in three seperate additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. You sould have a stiff, non-sticky dough. Split the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap in the shape of a disc, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll gingerbread out to the edges of a large, rimless cookie sheet. Place templates (directions below) onto the rolled out dough. With a sharp, straight edged kife, cut around each of the templates, but leave pieces in place. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the dough feels firm. Place the templates on top of the gingerbread again and trim shapes. Leave to cool. At this point you can either (a) assemble with royal icing, or (b) use royal icing to pipe windows, doors, shingles, etc.

Gingerbread House Templates

Use a cereal box, poster board, or something sturdy and stiffer than your average white paper. Get out your ruler, pencil, and scissors. Here's the template dimensions:

Front and back of the house (cut out two of these) = 3X5" rectangles
Roof pieces (cut out two of these) = 3X5 1/2" rectangles
Ends of the house (cute out two of these) = 3" wide at the base, 3" to the roof line, slanted to a peak 5 1/2" from the bottom

Royal Icing

1 lb powdered sugar
4 tsp meringue powder mixed with 1/4 cup water (or use 2 large egg whites)
1 tsp pure vanila extract, almond extract, or lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together using a hand mixer until the icing is smooth enough to be pressed through a pastry bag fitted with a writing tip. Add more lemon juice/water by droplets if necessary until desired consistency is achieved.

Source: My mom!

Neat Ideas From the Kiddos

3 Response to Gingerbread Houses

December 15, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Awww - I remember making these with my grandpa every year when I was little. I miss him. Thanks for the fond memories :)

December 16, 2011 at 3:50 AM

You are awesome!! I love that you made your own gingerbread house from scratch!!This is beautiful what you have done pretty! Since baking is not my thing, I bought a house kit... LOL. :)

December 17, 2011 at 5:18 PM


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