Gingerbread House

Is there any food more festive for the holidays than a gingerbread house? We all know how it goes; you go to the grocery store, pick one of the same style houses you saw the year before, go home and decorate it then let it sit until it gets stale. No one wants to eat the bland cookies from that box, so you just use it as decoration.

But what about a gingerbread house that you actually want to eat? And feel comfortable eating??

Every year, my step mom does a gingerbread house day with her nieces and nephews. So every year she makes about 20 (if I had to guesstimate a number) gingerbread houses from scratch. Makes the dough, bakes the pieces, makes the icing, and assembles them.

She was the inspiration for this homemade gingerbread house. Having the job that I do, why wouldn’t I try making my own from scratch too?

Then you can decide the shape you want and where to cut out the windows and door AND, best of all you’ll actually want to eat it!

I’ve got to tell you, this recipe was a lot of work and took quite a few hours to pipe the designs. But it was SO worth it and I had so much fun and am very proud of myself.

Give it a try and share your gingerbread houses with our Facebook and Instagram pages!

Ingredients
Gingerbread::
3½ cups flour
1½ teaspoons ginger
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
pinch salt
½ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons warm water
Icing::
3 egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
4¾ cups powdered sugar

Aroma DoveWare Casserole Dish
cutters or stencil printed out from online (I used Ginger Bread Street 2)
1-2 houses, depending on size of stencil
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes (cooking in batches)

Directions
Gingerbread::
1. Combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream the shortening and sugar with a hand or stand mixer until smooth. Mix in the egg and molasses.
3. Dissolve the baking soda in the warm water, then add to the egg mixture.
4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet a little at a time until it is all incorporated. As you add more, use your hands to mix and make sure it is all combined.
5. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
6. Preheat your oven to 350 ℉. Cut a few pieces of paper to fit the bottom of the casserole dish. Depending on how many pieces from your house pattern fit in the casserole dish will determine how many batches you need to cook.
7. Lightly flour a clean work surface and place one piece of parchment paper on it. Tear off a good chunk of dough and roll it out on the parchment paper until it is about ¼-inch thick. The dough should go over the edges of the parchment slightly, as you will be cutting and removing the extra dough.
8. Using a very sharp knife, cut your desired shapes from a stencil into the dough; different pieces should be about an inch apart at least. Remove the excess dough. I fit about 2 pieces (for the walls and roof) at a time onto the parchment paper.
9. After removing the excess dough so just the cut out shapes remain on the parchment paper, carefully lift the paper into the casserole dish.
10. Bake for 12-17 minutes until firm. Let cool in the casserole dish for 10 minutes before removing the cookies and paper to a cooling rack.
11. While baking one batch, repeat steps 7-9 until all of your pieces have been cut out. Again, bake all in batches until complete.
12. Let all of the gingerbread house pieces cool completely on the cooling rack before attempting to assemble.

Icing::
13. To make the icing, begin by beating the egg whites and cream of tartar with a hand or stand mixer on medium until nice and frothy.
14. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, mixing fully on high speed each time.
15. When all of the sugar is incorporated, beat for 4-5 minutes until thick.
16. Transfer the icing to piping bags fitted with different tips to your desire.

Building::
16. To assemble, start by laying one side of the house with the top of the cooking on the work surface (I usually start with the front or back of the house).
17. Pipe a good amount of icing on the top of one of the edges where the sides will connect. Take one of the sides and put it into place. Hold it there for about 1 minute until the icing starts to harden slightly. Use toothpicks to hold the piece into place while it dries. Repeat applying the other side.
18. Allow the icing to dry COMPLETELY before attempting to put on the remaining front/back of the house. Note that this might take up to an hour.
19. Once very dry, pipe icing on top of the edges of the sides that are facing up. Place the final front/back piece on top. Again, use toothpicks to hold it into place while it dries enough to be sturdy (I waited about a full hour).
20. Once the frame of the house is dry and sturdy, carefully flip it to stand upright. Pipe icing along the top edges to assemble the roof.
21. Put the pieces for the roof into place and hold for a minute until the icing starts to harden. Again, use toothpicks to prop the roof into place while it dries.
22. After the gingerbread house is assembled and fully dry, have fun decorating!

 

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