With Christmas just around the corner, we decided to put together a Lir Guide on how to make a gingerbread house from scratch, adapted from Simply Recipes. This can be a fun solo activity or a bonding experience with your friends or children. So, what are you waiting for? Get into the festive spirit and start making memories ahead of the big day!
Gingerbread house dough:
- 6 cups (828g) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (170g) butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups (284g) packed light brown sugar
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 cup dark molasses
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 Large Egg Whites
- 2 2/3 cups powdered sugar, divided
Gingerbread house method:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and salt
- Beat the butter and brown sugar until fluffy and well mixed. After this, beat in the eggs, molasses, and water until well combined.
- Beat half of the flour mixture into the molasses mixture until well blended and smooth. Add in the remaining flour and continue to mix until well blended and a soft cohesive dough form.
- Knead the dough on a floured work surface until the dough is smooth and combined. If the dough is too soft and sticky, add some more flour.
- Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least two hours, preferably overnight. Once you take it out of the refrigerator, let is sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before rolling it out.
- Create a gingerbread house model by cutting out pieces of stiff paper or cardboard to scale. Preheat the oven to 180°C and have several flat cookie trays ready.
- Roll out the dough using a rolling pin to an even thickness of 0.5cm. Add flour to the surface of the dough so that it does not stick as you roll it out. Freeze the dough for an hour before you cut out the gingerbread house.
- Place the pattern pieces on the dough and use a sharp knife to cut the pieces. Place the dough pieces on parchment paper using a metal spatula. Space the pieces 2cm apart from each other.
- Bake for 11-15 minutes for the large pieces and 6-8 minutes for the small pieces or just until the edges start to darken. Remove the sheets and place on a rack to cool for 15 minutes.
White icing method:
- Whisk the egg whites and 1 1/3 cups of the powdered sugar together until smooth.
- Add the remaining 1 1/3 cup of powdered sugar to the sugar egg mixture. Using an electric mixer, beat on high speed until the icing holds stiff peaks. If it doesn't form stiff peaks, add more powdered sugar.
- Pipe the icing into a cut freezer bag. Cut a tip off one of the corners of the bags and add a plastic or metal piping tip for more controlled piping.
Building the gingerbread house:
- Choose a solid base (flat cookie or a thick piece of cardboard) for your gingerbread house.
- Pipe a thick line of icing alone one of the side pieces and press the iced side piece against the edge of the front or back piece. Hold this in place until the icing is partially set and repeat with other edges.
- Pipe icing along all edges of the house where it meets the base on both sides for extra stability. Let this set for at least an hour before adding on the roof.
- Once it is set, pipe icing along the edges of the roof structure and place it so the roof pieces with long ends of the rectangle are running along the top of the house. Let the house stand for 8+ hours before decorating.
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