Monday, December 21, 2009
The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.
I made a very ugly/cute gingerbread house with Caleb. We covered it in sprinkles and marshmallows, with green coconut grass and marshmallow snow men. Then we made gingerbread men and stars with the extras.
The following is not the recipe I used or even the recipe from the challenge; this is a recipe that ‘Chef Allison’ has used for years. When I saw her results I was so impressed that I’ve put her recipe here instead. Check out her blog for some amazing gingerbread houses. (http://www.partytrayforyou.blogspot.com/)
Have to say I would quadruple the spices used though, I worked with that amount of spice per one cup of flour. I would say defiantly season to taste.
Gingerbread House Recipe
Recipe By : Sullivan County Extension Homemakers Club
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
7 Cups Sifted All Purpose Flour -- 7-8 cups
1 Teaspoon Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
3 Teaspoons Ginger
1 Cup Shortening
1 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Unsulphered Molasses
2 Each Eggs
1 Cup Additional Flour -- 1-2 cups
3 Each Eggs Whites -- room temp
4 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Cream of Tarter
Sift together first 5 ingredients. Blend together molasses, shortening, sugar and eggs. Stir dry ingredients into molasses mixture. Add enough of the additional flour to make a dough stiff enough to be shaped into a disc. Refrigerate overnight for easier handling. Can be frozen.
Will make 4-5 small gingerbread house using this pattern.
Roll to about 1/4" thickness on a floured cookie sheet. Trace the house pattern pieces onto typing paper and cut out. Arrange pattern pieces on cookie dough and carefully cut around each pattern being certain to allow 1/2" space between pieces to allow the dough to expand as it bakes.
Cut the dough with a sharp paring knife or the edge of a metal pancake turner. Be certain the walls and roof are the same size as the patterns. Remove scraps leaving house pieces on the cookie sheet. Do not attempt to shift pieces once they have been cut out. This will stretch the dough and distort the shape. Bake at 350 12-15 mins.
Carefully loosen then remove each piece with a metal pancake turner. Cool on a wire rack. When the walls are completely cooled, place a sheet of aluminum foil on the cookie sheet shiney side up. Arrange the walls on the foil. With a hammer, pulverize a few pieces of hard clear candy in a plastic bag. Spoon some of the crushed candy into each window. Return the cookie sheet to the oven and bake a few mins in order to melt the candy. Watch carefully, the candy melts quickly. Remove pieces from the cookie sheet and cool on a rack. When completely cooled (don't rush this cooling step) peel the foil from the backs of each wall. The foil will peel easily from the window if it has cooled sufficiently.
Assemble using Royal Icing as "glue". Glue the walls together first. When icing has hardened (about 15 mins) then glue on the roof. Glue on the chimney and door. When icing has hardened you may begin decorating the house with additional icing and candy.
Suggested candies: cinnamon red hots, starlight peppermints, candy canes, gum drops, miniature marshmallows, M&M's, sweettarts, silver dragees.
Make a larger house by increasing the size of the pattern pieces. As you assemble a larger house, stuff a small string of miniature Christmas lights inside the house with the cord sticking out. Your gingerbread house can glow with the lights are plugged in. Make a gingerbread house for your pet. Use yellow, pink, or orange hard clear candies for the windows.
Royal Icing: Purchase Wilton Meringue Powder where cake decorating supplies are sold and follow the recipe on the can for Royal Icing. Or, use the scratch recipe above. Do NOT use a shortening based frosting. When making Royal Icing, it is essential that all mixing utensiils are grease free. The slightest bit of oil or grease will case the Royal Icing to break down. Royal Icing dries quickly so keep the bowl covered with a damp cloth at all times. Can be refrigerated.
Beat all icing ingredients at high speed for 7-10 mins. Add more sugar for a stiffer consistency if necessary. Makes 2-1/2 cups.