Daring Bakers in December: Gingerbread HouseDecember 25, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, daring bakers, groups, other sweet, sweet things | 20 Comments
Welcome to my home– my gingerbread home! Let me show you around inside. It’s nothing fancy. Just four walls and some spackling. Oh, and mind your head…the roof has quite a slope.
Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi had us break out our hard hats and toolboxes to construct our very own gingerbread houses for this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge! As a result, I’m sure you’ll tour some ultra tricked-out gingerbread houses around Food Blog Avenue this Christmas. Mine’s more of a cottage, really…some may say a shack…but I’m quite pleased with it. And it’s now over two weeks old, so I know it’s solidly built!
I used the Scandinavian Gingerbread recipe provided by Y, found an easy template, and started construction. I needed just half a recipe of dough, and I actually added a spoonful of cocoa powder to it, just to make the color a bit darker. Some windows, a sanding sugar snowstorm and a wreath out front, and I was a proud homeowner in just a few hours!
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and I’m sure I’ll see you again before the new year!
Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)
adapted from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas
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]
-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. Chill 2 hours or overnight.
-Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.
-Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.
-Roll out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick (which allows for fact that the dough puffs a little when baked), cut required shapes and transferred these to the baking sheet. You can save any scraps to reroll at the end.
-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.
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.
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.