Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gingerbread House

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

As a kid my favourite story was ‘Hansel and Gretel’. My Mom loved reading to us and all of us kids used to get excited when the bad little Witch put Hansel and Gretel in the Gingerbread House and all they got to eat was candy from the Gingerbread House.

So, when it was announced that our Challenge was going to be a gingerbread house, I was in high spirits. Got all the materials needed, made the templates on cardboard and here is my Gingerbread House……my first one. Tell me what you think of it …..

I must add here that my son and my husband were my ‘helpers’ and without them my house would not be standing. ;) ;).

I used ‘Y’s recipe …as the other recipe had Molasses, which I could not find even though I searched high and low.

So here is my Gingerbread house…my very first one. Please tell me what you think of it.

I first made the ‘rustic’ looking one. Then I improvised on it by adding conflakes for the roof, some candy and snowmen. So its one housebut two looks…;)………

Here is the recipe for those who want it ..

Recipe for the Gingerbread :

1 Cup butter @ room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups flour.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar till well blended Add the spice powders Mix the baking soda with boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If needed, add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Using the template cut patters for the house (Walls, roof, chimney etc). It is a good idea to have them stuck on cardboard.

Keep a waxed paper on the counter and roll your dough on it to 1/8” thickness. Keep your templates on this and cut the dough as per the templates. Transfer the waxed paper to a cookie sheet ensuring that the shape of the template is retained.

Preheat over to 180-190 deg C and bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm After baking, again place the template on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet

Royal Icing (Used as Cement to glue your house together, to affix the candies & for snow on the roof )

1 large egg white
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon Almond Extract

Whip the egg white till soft peaks form. Add sugar a little by little. Add almond extract and vinegar (white). This will harden over time – is used as your glue for binding the walls together.

Fix the house together and hold each wall together till it sets….. complete the construction of the whole house this way..keeping the roof for the last.

Decorate the house with candies, icing sugar etc.

I used the ‘Templates’ from this Martha Stewart Site.

Fondant (for the snowmen )
(You will need just a quarter for the snowmen- can freeze the remaining for later use)

2 Pounds Confectioners sugar
1 tbsp unflavoured gelatin
¼ cup cold eater
½ cup light corn syrup
1 tbsp glycerin
1 tbsp. clear vanilla essence
1 tbsp white shortening.

Sift 1.5 pnds of the Confectioners sugar into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and set aside. Transfer the rest of the sugar into a sieve and set aside.

Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a measuring cup. Stand for 2 minutes to soften. Place the bowl into a saucepan with barely simmering water until gelatin dissolves. Stir in corn syrup, glycerin and vanilla essence & not boil. The mixture should be smooth and clear. Pour glycerin mixture into well of icing sugar and stir till combined.

Transfer the sticky fondant to a silicon mat and knead- gradually add more icing sugar – rub the vegetable shortening and knead the fondant.

Allow to rest for 24 hours before using. You will get snow-white fondant. If you need to colour the fondant – remove a bit aside and add one or two drops of colour.


silverrock said...

Ooooo... your gingerbread house looks delish. It also seems like your snow men are enjoying the "blizzardy" conditions... they're uber-cute :) Way to go on this month's DB challenge, keep up the amazing bakes!

Anna said...

Very cute! I love your shingled roof!