Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Blogmas Day 15 - Making A Gingerbread House Step By Step

A home-made gingerbread house seems like a daunting task, but in reality, it's quite easy!  Especially with these step-by-step instructions.
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (12 fl oz ) of unsulphured molasses
  • 1 and 1/2 cup (3 sticks) butter or margarine
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon allspice
  • 1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 4 cups of confectioner's sugar (also called icing sugar or powdered sugar)

  • cookie sheets
  • aluminum foil or better yet, silicon baking mats
  • butter or margarine
  • flour, all-purpose, white or whole wheat
  • Again, more silicon banking mats OR waxed paper
  • Heavy duty mixer (optional - you can mix by hand)
  • Rolling pin, I like the non-stick silicon type
  • Cake knives
  • Spatula
  • Cooling racks
  • a 11" by 17" cookie tray, heavy cardboard and/or plywood to use as a base
  • Six quart-sized bottles (like full spaghetti sauce jars) or unopened soda cans to hold the walls and roof in place while the icing dries.
  • Pastry bags and tips (OR a gallon sized Ziploc plastic bag (quart will do, also) 
  • Candy for decoration: M&M's, gumdrops, lifesavers, coloured sprinkles, etc.

  • Make the templates:
    Roof: 2 rectangles, 7 inches by 9.5 inches
    Side walls: 2 rectangles, 4"x7.5"
    Front and Back: trapezoids
    Chimney: (optional) 1" wide.

    Making The Dough:
    1. Melt the butter in the microwave or on the stove until it is melted
    2. Pour the melted butter and molasses into your mixing bowl
    3. Now add the eggs, and next the brown sugar and mix
    4. In another large bowl mix the 8 cups all-purpose flour with 2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt,1 teaspoon baking soda, 4 teaspoons ground ginger, 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of allspice.
    5. Now mix the dry with the wet and mix, if you have a mixer with a dough hook, use that and then knead into a smooth dough.
    6. Put the dough in a zip lock or other container and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. You can also leave it over night but that isn't necessary.
    7. On a silicon baking mat, waxed paper or a floured surface, roll out a small amount of the dough (about the size of a tennis ball) until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
    8. Try to match one or more of the cut out patterns to the size of the rolled dough. It doesn't need to be an exact fit, you will reuse the trimmings.
    9. Place one of the paper pattern pieces on the dough and using a dull knife (like a table knife) cut around the edges.
    10. Cut out the windows and doors and just lift out the extra dough. Save the trimming to roll again for the next template.
    11. The chimney pieces are no different from the others, just smaller!  You don't need to make a chimney, but it adds a nice touch
    12. Now pop the tray into the oven and let it cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until it puffs up a little bit and just starts to become golden and slightly firm.

    Make The Icing
    • 4 egg whites - If you use pasteurized eggs whites, like those in the carton at right, then the icing will be safe to eat (otherwise, the uncooked eggs may contain salmonella!)
    • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
    • 4 cups of icing sugar or powdered sugar

    1. In a large bowl beat the egg whites until they begin to foam. Add the cream of tartar and beat until the whites are stiff but not dry.
    2. Gradually beat in the icing sugar, beating for about 5 minutes until it reaches spreading consistency. Keep it covered and refrigerated until needed.
    3. If you have a pastry bag, use that, but it's easy to take a large zip lock bag. Fill the bag, and pop it into the fridge.  When you are ready to use it, just cut off 1/4 inch of a corner and you have an instant pastry bag!
    1. Now this is simple, if you have a make shift base made of wood covered in foil etc., using the icing line the bottom the 4 walls and wait until tacky before sticking them to the base, you can use anything to keep them standing.
    2. Once tacky they should stand and so you can continue to construct, using the icing and waiting until tacky again, add the roof.
    3. let the icing harden and fill in any gaps that appear.
    4. Now using the icing that's left, Decorate using your candy that you have.

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