Monday, December 23, 2013

My First Gingerbread House from Scratch

Gingerbread houses have always had two speeds for me:  Those kit things you get from places like Target, or those impossibly detailed ones like Martha Stewart makes with sugar stained glass windows or by the really intense competitors at OSSAS.  I wasn't really up for attempting a Martha Stewart one, and every year I let my kids make one of the kits but I try to let them do that all on their own.

A week or two ago I was on Pinterest and came across a really beautiful gingerbread house that wasn't fussy, or overly complicated, or anything else.  It was just lovely.  And as I researched more and more, I realized that there is a person on Flickr that is incredibly creative and talented with this genre or sugar art.  I can't find much information on her, but she goes by the name Sassybeautimus and she is AHmazing.  Take a look at her work, she is so inspiring!  I decided to take from cues from her, and also my very rainbowy 2013, and make a rainbow hued gingerbread house.

I'm a pretty big fan of Smitten Kitchen, and happened to find a link to a yummy gingerbread recipe online.  It worked pretty well, BUT, I got some bubbles on the panels during baking that stuck around after they cooled, making the surface uneven.  This was a bummer, but a friend of mine told me the bubbles come from layers of butter and flour. She keeps an eye on hers during baking and pops them with a pin to diffuse the built up air.  Next time!  Here's the recipe I used:

6 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 1/2 pound) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup unsulfured molasses

Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes

Before baking, I cut out templates to the dimensions I wanted for the house.  I rolled out the dough, then traced the templates with a knife.  After baking, I chose to let the pieces to sit out overnight to get nice and stiff to be stable enough to construct the house.  If I was making this recipe primarily for eating, I would definitely store them in an airtight container to make sure they would stay the right chewy texture.  

The next morning I got to work.  The first thing I did was cover the board I was using in a thick royal icing to give the panels something to stick to.  The panels went together perfectly with just a little royal icing on the seams.  I waited a couple of hours to attach the roof to make sure everything was stable (the roof is pretty heavy with all those fondant hearts!), and set to work with decorating the house.

I used a little bit of candy, but didn't like what I found in the candy stores and used mostly royal icing and fondant decorations.  The roof is decorated with over 200 fondant hearts.  I added the cute little snowman and Christmas tree in the yard.  I also decorated the sides of the house with fondant peppermints and other lollipop type candies!  I also used royal icing on spots of the roof to look like snow.

This gingerbread house was a lot of fun to make, I might have to make it a Christmas tradition!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

where can we find the templates for the gingerbread house?
or can we get the measurements.

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