Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gingerbread Houses



Baking and decorating gingerbread houses are two of my favorite holiday traditions. I don’t create anything elaborate or complex like the house pictured above. Rather, I use a kit purchased several years ago from Magic Cabin . . .


. . . which includes everything needed – recipes and cookie cutters – to make a simple ready-to-be-adorned house like the one shown below.


Here is a quick run through of the entire process.

To make the dough, melt 1 cup of white Crisco in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup of unsulfered molasses, stirring until sugar is completely melted.

In a separate bowl combine 5 cups flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. nutmeg and 2 tsp. ginger. Remove pot from heat. Add 4 cups of the dry ingredients to molasses mixture. Stir with spoon until combined. Mix in last cup of dry ingredients with your hands.


Roll dough on a cookie sheet using a rolling pin or tall glass. Use the cookie cutters to make the appropriate number of pieces to construct the house.


Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 13 minutes or until light brown.

Cool completely. Don’t worry if your pieces are not perfect - icing can hide almost any imperfection

Assemble the house using the provided icing recipe or one of your own. I make an easy royal icing of 3 tablespoons meringue powder, 4 cups confectionary sugar and 6 tablespoons water.

 For the foundation I use inexpensive cookie trays from the Dollar Store and a white paper doily. Apply icing to all edges of the gingerbread house.


Let the icing harden before decorating.


To attach the candy use store bought icing. Making your own icing is also an option.


Be creative and have fun! The only limitation is your imagination.  (Above and below are pictures of the house I created this year.)


Notes: You may remember last year when I showcased gingerbread houses made by several of my friends. Sadly, this year time passed me by and I was not able to host my annual holiday gingerbread house decorating party. Hopefully next year I will get my act together sooner and revive this annual tradition. Also, the kit I use is no longer available through Magic Cabin but they do have several other options. Finally, I have never eaten the finished gingerbread, it smells delicious and several friends have said it does taste good. I concentrate all my nibbling on the candy!

I would love to hear about your experiences with gingerbread houses. Have you ever made a gingerbread house? Did you design your own or use a kit? What are your favorite candy decorations?

7 comments:

Melissa at HOUSEography.net said...

That is so cute! I want to do a gingerbread party with my friends next year but this year I worked on a kids' party. We all had a blast!

http://houseography.blogspot.com/2010/12/holidayography-gingerbread-magic.html

Becca said...

I love your finished house! I host a gingerbread decorating party for kids every year. This year I think I'm finally going to try my own. I bought a similar cookie cutter kit from William Sonoma a few years ago. You've inspired me! Thanks!

Becca

Becca said...

I love your finished house! I host a gingerbread decorating party for kids every year. This year I think I'm finally going to try my own. I bought a similar cookie cutter kit from William Sonoma a few years ago. You've inspired me! Thanks!

Becca

Andrea said...

I love our annual gingerbread house fun with my girls. This year, I too, was quite busy, so I bought a pre-baked house. It still was quite cute though! We made it about mid-Nov, and needless to say, some little 'elves' seem to have eaten it all!

Sheila said...

Pretty!!! How lovely, when i saw the first picture i thought it was a bought one, not one you made!!-i mean that in a nice way-its so pretty, i didnt think it was attainable!!! you are so creative, its really lovely.
x

Jacqueline said...

How fun, one of my favorite holiday pictures from years past is my little granddaughter when she was three, up taking a bite out of the gingerbread house! No hands used, just gnawing on it! Have a wonderful and very Merry Christmas.

Ann said...

My son and niece will be working on our gingerbread house today. I like how you used the pretzels for the roof...I'll certainly pass along that little tip!
Merry Christmas!
Fondly,
Ann
@
The Tattered Tassel

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