Thursday, December 24, 2009

Daring Bakers - December ~ 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.

I used the Scandinavian recipe. The recipe worked really well. We made a huge batch because not only were we going to build a house but Sean wanted a gingerbread outhouse too!

I also added some melted sugar windows to the house. I put a strand of Christmas lights under the house so the windows light up and it looks like there is a fire inside! I am really proud of my windows! :)

Y's Recipe:
Scandinavian Gingerbread (pepparkakAstuga)
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]

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. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

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

3. 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.

4. [I rolled 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. Any scraps I saved and rerolled at the end.]

5. 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:

5 tablespoons meringue powder
1/3 cup water
1 pound confectioner's sugar (about 3 3/4 to 4 cups)

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Use a paddle attachment and beat SLOWLY until stiff peaks form. When ready, the icing turns pure white, not fluffy and slaps against the bowl. Should NOT be shiny. Don't overbeat. If you do, it gets spongy. If it sits for awhile, it becomes spongy, so stir before using it every time. Don't rebeat because it will break icing down. If it dries and flakes, it's too dry. Add a few drops water. If you don't use the icing immediately, cover with a damp cloth over the bowl.

Here is how we put it all together ~

Miss Agnes helped cut out the pieces with the templates we made.


We definitely have a new holiday tradition! I can't wait to make another one next year!!