This challenge was honestly one I was dreading. It sounded like fun, but with all the things on my to do list, I had no clue how I would manage to get it done. Last weekend we got snow, which means I stayed in and while I should have been writing my paper, I made this my first priority, after all it sounds like much more fun than reading and writing about economics! After I started assembling, the inner child in me came out and I had a blast. I didn’t have much to decorate the house with except for more gingerbread, so I managed to find some red sprinkles and did the best I could to add some color! Overall, I was happy with the way it turned out and happy I took the time to make one. Who knows, maybe it will be a yearly tradition now!
Spicy Gingerbread Dough(recipe can be halved, if only making one gingerbread house)
2 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream or whipping cream
1 1/4 cups molasses
9 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
In a very large bowl, with wire whisk ( or an electric mixer), beat brown sugar, cream, and molasses until sugar lumps dissolve and mixture is smooth. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and ginger. With spoon, stir flour mixture into cream mixture in 3 additions until dough is too stiff to stir, then knead with hands until flour is incorporated and dough is smooth.
Divide dough into 4 equal portions; flatten each into a disk to speed chilling. Wrap each disk well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, until dough is firm enough to roll.
Grease and flour large cookie sheets.
Roll out dough, 1 disk at a time on each cookie sheet to about 3/16 inch thickness. Trim excess dough from cookie sheet; wrap and reserve in refrigerator. Chill rolled dough on cookie sheet in refrigerator or freezer at least 10 minutes or until firm enough to cut easily.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Use chilled rolled dough, floured poster board patterns, and sharp paring knife to cut all house pieces on
cookie sheet, making sure to leave at least 1 1/4 inches between pieces because dough will expand slightly during baking. Wrap and reserve trimmings in refrigerator. Combine and use trimming as necessary to complete house and other decorative pieces. Cut and bake large pieces and small pieces separately.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until pieces are firm to the touch. Do not over bake; pieces will be too crisp to trim to proper size.
Remove cookie sheet from oven. While house pieces are still warm, place poster-board patterns on top and use them as guides to trim shapes to match if necessary. Cool pieces completely before attempting to assemble the house.
Source: Good Housekeeping; http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefinder/spicy-gingerbread-dough-157...
Royal Icing1 large egg white
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract
Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren’t using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.
Source for Gingerbread Template: http://www.gingerbread-house-heaven.com/support-files/free-gingerbread-house-pattern.pdf