Sunday, December 19, 2010
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?