Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's a Gingerbread Christmas!

Since all the "kids" in my family are now adults and we don't have any little one's running around yet, Christmas isn't often very child-like or as the same as it was when we were young. My sister decided this year for Christmas Eve we should break out our Gingerbread House mold (from John Wright & Co, can be bought on Amazon, click link on the right to buy it) and each make a house. The minor technicality was that she got home today, Christmas Eve, and the gingerbread is better made at least a day ahead. This left me (with alot of help from Mom) to be the one baking the gingerbread. I started out with a plan to make 4 houses, but over the last two days between other baking and just getting tired of making gingerbread, we ended up with only 3 houses. It ended up working out well because three of us spearheaded a house with one of my brothers coming up with creative ideas to add to each one and just help overall. The photo above is of our little Gingerbread village, below the recipe are detail shots of each of our houses.

Gingerbread House

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses
2 Tbsp cold water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

1. Cream together shortening, sugar, molasses and water. Sift together flour, spices & salt. Add dry ingredients to shortening mixture and mix well. Chill for at least 1 hour. (dough is very crumbly but it's ok because you press it into the cast iron mold)
2. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Grease or spray mold with vegetable spray. Press dough into mold. Bake for 25 minutes.
3. Let gingerbread cool in mold for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Carefully remove each piece of gingerbread to cooling rack, flat side down.
4. Repeat with to make other side of house, you do not need to bake more people and trees unless you want more. NOTE: It is better to bake gingerbread one day ahead to allow for stiffening.

Royal Icing - the "glue" that holds the house together, it hardens very quickly to allow for easier assembly

3 egg whites at room temperature
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 lb 10x confectioner sugar - sifted

Combine in mixing bowl and mix on high speed for 7 to 10 minutes. Beat until very stiff - you can't over-beat. Store at room temperature

This is my youngest brother's house. I love his NECCO wafer roof!

Mom helped put the pretty bow on the spice ring wreath. I think it makes the chimney.

This is my sister's house. Our brother who was helping us all came up with the idea for the Andes Candy driveway and my sister built a spice ring "Hummer" to sit in it

The back lanai was inspired by her favorite show, "Golden Girls"

This is my house. I used a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off to pipe the roof and the icicles. My brother helped me assemble my house and make it "structurally sound" as he said. He also constructed my from walk with halves of spice rings and Andes Candy tiles.

The Jujubee lights on the roof were my youngest brother's idea and I think they look great. I also love how my marshmallow snowmen turned out.

All in all I think we made some great Gingerbread Houses and had alot of fun while doing it. If you've never made one before I recommend buying this mold as it works really well and is a fun family project. It can also be used to make a chocolate house for any other time of year. Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

Time In The Kitchen, Sue Hayes said...

What a nice job you did! Looks like fun - and tasty too!