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Thursday, December 17, 2009

GingerBread House

The Joy is in the journey and in this case the destination too... Wishing Everyone Merry Christmas and Happy holidays.

Mission accomplished. I always wanted to make a Gingerbread House and finally we made it. My first ever Gingerbread House made from scratch. Not that there's anything wrong with the pre-assembled ones. I had waited so long to make one I wanted to experience the joy of making one right from scratch. Also I had promised my son we'll make one soon. Now since it was so close to Christmas I started frantically searching for the recipes and the know-how before we set out in our venture. Finally zeroed in on a good recipe. Got all the ingredients and then waited for a good day to start with our "Gingerbread House project". Ok let me admit to you that I almost chickened out but since we had made plans and the ingredients were all set up right on my kitchen counter , it was hard to ignore this Project any longer.

So this is how our Mission was Accomplished. We did not do it all in one day. It always helps if we break it up in smaller sessions. We took 1 and half days - just like half an hr to an hour sessions. Only the decorating took more time.

  • First I Cut out the template/pattern for the house.
  • Prepared the dough for the Gingerbread house.
  • Baked all the pieces of the house (4 pieces for the walls and 2 for the roof).
  • Made the Royal Icing .
  • Put the house pieces together using Royal Icing.
  • Decorated our GingerBread House.

This is where I got my recipe for this structural strong Gingerbread house. Also since we still have a few days before X'mas and I have tested this recipe. IT works. I would recommend this to everyone out there who wants to make a gingerbread house. Also a great project for the holidays where you can involve your kids.

To Make Gingerbread House Dough.
  • 2 cups light corn syrup (or dark corn syrup for a darker house)
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups or butter
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

**Using the above ingredients I made one house and have some dough left over (little less than half) which I'll use to make Christmas ornaments. So if you are using the above recipe you can make the adjustments as needed. For me this is my 1st time so just wanted to try as is ..without any major changes.

Preparation :

1) In a bowl add the butter, corn syrup and brown sugar and microwave until the butter melts.

2. Stir well until the brown sugar dissolves.

3. Add this mixture to the flour and knead into a dough.

4. If you are not using the dough right away , Keep it covered in a plastic wrap and refrigerate.

5. Now if the dough is refrigerated and its too hard to roll just microwave for 10-20 seconds. Now roll the dough to 1/4 " thick with a rolling pin on an aluminium foil/Parchment paper so that we could cut out the pattern for our Gingerbread House. We would need parchment paper to roll out the dough . Also aluminium foil works well (since I did not have parchment paper). Also this helps us to transfer the pattern onto the baking sheet. If you try to get them off and then transfer the pattern could be pulled and will not be of the right measurements. Place the template/pattern onto the rolled dough.

6. Cut using a pizza cutter or kinife.

7. Repeat this until you get all the pieces for the house. 2 gabble walls, 2 regular walls and 2 roofs.

8. Bake on a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees F. Bake for about 12-15 minutes. I baked mine for almost 14 minutes.

9. Let them cool and then transfer them carefully to a wire rack to cool completely. In fact I let them cool for about 3 hours before I assembled them.
10. Now before we begin assembling the Gingerbread House its a good idea to keep all the walls of the house and the decorations handy. Because once we make the Royal Icing its always good to begin gluing them together as soon as possible as Super Icing dries very quicky.
11. Making Royal Icing.
  • 3 3/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
* I have used 1 teaspoon of lemon juice as a substitute for cream of tartar.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and turn mixer on high and beat till its thick and white. It should take around 7 -10 minutes. You could also whisk it by hand for about 7-8 minutes. Thats what I did and you will notice its getting harder to whisk as it gets thicker. Our Royal Icing is Ready.

*** Always cover your Royal Icing with plastic wrap, making sure it touches the royal icing so a crust doesn't form since it dries out quickly. Also if the icing gets too thick you could add little water and if its too thin add more confectioners' sugar.

12. I did get a 15" cardboard circle to built my gingerbread house on (foundation). Now fill up a pastry bag with the icing and begin assembling the Gingerbread house.You could check out the step by step assembling tips here. Its recommended to use a #10 plain round tip for bold lines and #3 plain round tip for thin lines. Begin by making a L shape with the icing. I made thick and bold lines so that the walls could have enough glue to stick together and be strong. Now add two adjacent walls. Hold on to them for about 30 seconds to a minute and then continue with the other two walls. On the inner side of the wall apply some icing to all the four seams. Now go onto to the roof. Apply a thik bead of icing on all the top edges of the wall and attach one roof at a time. Then apply icing onto the seam where the two roofs meet.

13. The decoration begins. This is the best part. This is the time to unleash your inner child and just have fun...Enjoy.