27.12.09

Daring Bakers - Building up!

Gingerbread House

House building has been on my plans since I was a little kid -- I wanted to be an architect whilst growing up! It didn't turn out that way, and although I made the arts my professional area, I've never went into the building business. Until this Christmas, that is! Thank you, Anna and Y!

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.

Gingerbread House

Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)
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

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.

Gingerbread House + Cat

My thoughts on the challenge:

- Because I didn't want to make a huge house, I've decided to build two tiny ones to giveaway to my friends children. The rest of the dough I used in regular gingerbread cookies, and they were very yummy.
- I've halved the recipe (icing included) and didn't have any problem with that. Everything worked like a charm!
- I used this free pattern, but reduced it to 50%.

18 comments:

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Estão um amor! Apetece ser muito pequenino para viver numa delas :) Bom ano novo já agora e um beijinho!

Angela @ A Spoonful of Sugar said...

What pretty mini houses, Suzanne!

Jo said...

What a cute little gingerbread house! Really pretty.

Lauren said...

I love the tiny houses! They're gorgeous and have a beautiful simplicity to them =D.

Jill said...

You houses are adorable! I love the heart shaped windows--just so sweet. :)

kristenly said...

i love your little houses. they are so simple yet elegant. fabulous job. hope that you had a lovely holiday!

Claire said...

I love the simplistity of these houses.

minisuperbias said...

So cute, I love how simple and beautiful. They would make lovely gifts!

Y said...

Beautiful and elegant :) Love the photos too!

Janet Marie said...

Simple and lovely.

culinography said...

Adorable! These are just lovely, Suzana!

chef_d said...

Very pretty and elegant gingerbread houses :)

Tia said...

these are just darling!

Dharm said...

lovely houses. so pretty and yet so simple. Amazing job!

Jenny Tan said...

Love the simplicity of your houses! They are adorable! :)

Joana said...

I love these little houses! They're very cute!

Happy New Year

Lori said...

You did a wonderful job. The simplicity is just beautiful!

fairy_mi said...

Your cute little gingerbread houses are just adorableeeee!
Great job!
Inbal
(also a DB)