23.12.09

Gingerbread House

I have never actually ever had the urge to make a Gingerbread House.  Not even when I was a kid.  That's what I love about The Daring Bakers.  The enthusiasm is contagious and then I feel like I should join in.  We have a bit of freedom.  We can make any type of house that strikes our fancy.  I have decided that my personal challenge will be to make this house from ingredients already in my pantry or house or outdoors.

I had already purchased the extra long cinnamon sticks for $3.  All of the batter ingredients were in my pantry.  I used my homemade Raincoast Crisps for the roof tiles.  I used my own candied fruit for decorations.  Dried cranberries and lots of green cardamom pods were in my kitchen.  And I used carmelized sugar to glue the whole thing together.  I further carmelized until almost burnt and used the coloured sugar syrup to give glitter to the roof and trees.  All in all, this cost me about $6.

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.

Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)
from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas http://astore.amazon.com/thedarkit-20/detail/0816634963

1 cup butter, room temperature [226g]
1 cup brown sugar, well packed [220g]
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Knead until fully mixed.  Chill 2 hours or overnight.

2. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney, etc. out of cardboard.

3. Roll the dough to about 3/8" thick and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.

4. Preheat the oven to 375'F (190'C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern 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:

1 large egg white
3 cups (330g) 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.

Syrup Glue:
1/4 cup (200g) water
1 cup (200g) sugar

Combine in a small saucepan and heat until you reach the hard ball stage. Dredge or brush the edges of the pieces to glue them together. If the syrup crystallizes, reboil it.

14 comments:

  1. Fabulous job! I love your gingerbread house - its so creative =D.

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  2. I love it! A savoury gingerbread house instead of a sweet one. Lovely. So rustic.

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  3. I love your gingerbread house! It's a lovely rustic one, instead of the usually all candied and tarted up one!

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  4. Wow! What a beautiful and creative gingerbread house. I love it.
    Happy Holidays to you.

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  5. Wow! Your gingerbread house is so beautiful and creative. Love it.

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  6. Lovely. It actually looks like my house! Seriously. Drips too! Merry Merry! Ken

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  7. WOW!
    your gingerbread house is amazing
    i love the colors the decoration
    Great job!

    Happy Holidays

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  8. I love how creative your gingerbread house is and the decorations of candied fruit is a great idea!
    Merry Christmas!!

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  9. I love your house! It is so beautifully rustic and simple. Gorgeous!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

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  10. I love how your house turned out and that you were turn it around so economically.

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  11. Thank you! Thank you! All. I like the simplicity, too.

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  12. I love the tweedy look! Well done.

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  13. I love how rustic your gingerbread house looks!

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