Friday, December 26, 2008

Gingerbread Kits

Making gingerbread houses is one of my favorite holiday traditions. They're sort of an all-in-one activity - baking, crafting, eating, and spending time together.

Design your house using heavy cardboard to cut our your pattern, and roll out your dough on parchment paper an 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out your pieces and pull away the excess dough, then cut the parchment around your pieces and arrange them evenly spaced on a cookie sheet. If you want to do Stained Glass Windows - just crush some hard candies like life savers or jolly ranchers in the window space of the raw dough. The candy will melt and distribute as the gingerbread bakes, and will pull away easily from the parchment paper.

Make a platform for your house ( I just wrapped tinfoil around some cardboard) and begin assembling using the Royal Icing recipe below. Let the houses set for an hour before you begin decorating.

Then let the fun and decorating begin! No clothing required.

This gingerbread recipe is really soft and yummy, so don't wait too long before you start eating!

Gingerbread Recipe
6 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
2/3 cups shortening
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 eight-ounce container sour cream
2 eggs

In a large bowl, measure 3 1/2 cups flour and remaining ingredients.
With mixer at low speed, beat until well mixed, constantly scraping bowl with rubber spatula. With hand, knead in remaining 2 1/2 cups flour to make a soft dough.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or until dough is not sticky and is of easy kneading consistency.
Roll out 1/2 the dough at a time.

Royal Icing
3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar

In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners' sugar gradually and mix on a low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks - about 5-7 minutes. Put in disposable pastry bags - 1 for each house. We tripled the recipe, and that was just enough for 5 houses.
Warning: this icing is your glue - it will harden really fast so make sure you keep it airtight if you aren't going to use it right away.


Candice said...

I am impressed that you baked your own. When I first got married, I tried...and burned...and attempted to repair with icing a really sad gingerbread house.

Great job.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing this recipe ... I've been looking for a good one. I made an attempt this year but it was a little over baked ... if that is what you'd call it.

NieĊ›ka said...

wow! :) You're really parient!