> GINGERBREAD HOUSE 101
Basic Gingerbread Recipes
1 cup butter, margarine or
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
5 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
In a large mixing bowl beat
butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until fluffy - at least
three minutes. Add molasses and beat well. Combine dry ingredients
and add to the batter a little at a time, mixing in each addition.
You will have to use your hands to work in the last additions.
Divide dough into thirds and
shape into balls. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several
hours, preferably overnight.
Roll out one ball to
approximately 3/16 inch thick on a piece of aluminum foil. Dough
must be sufficiently chilled before rolling to prevent stickiness.
Lightly flour the foil, your hands, and the rolling pin, before
rolling to prevent pulling. Or roll between a sheet of foil on the
bottom and a sheet of wax paper on top.
Position the pattern templates
on top of the dough at least 1 inch apart to allow for a little
spreading of dough during baking. Carefully cut out the pieces,
using a pastry wheel or paring knife, and gingerly lift the scraps
away from the cutout shapes, and return them to the refrigerator.
If your house calls for texturized wood grain, panels, brick, etc.,
score these effects into the gingerbread before baking.
Carefully slide the foil (with
the cutouts on it) onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 375° for 9 to 11
minutes. Bake until just firm, never browned. Once all of the dough
as been used, form the scraps into another ball and roll out again.
Avoid rolling the dough out more than twice if you plan to eat your
gingerbread as it makes the dough tough.
When all pieces have finished
baking, remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie
sheets. As soon as the pieces come out of the oven, check the edges
and, if necessary, trim with a sharp knife so that the pieces will
fit together. Lay the paper template over each piece to be sure the
sides are square with those of the template. The dough will have
spread somewhat, but the basic shape should be the same. The dough
hardens as it cools, making it more difficult to trim later.
Allow the gingerbread plenty
of time to cool on racks before you begin construction. If you
can't start right away, slide the fully cooled pieces onto
foil-covered cardboard or back onto the cookie sheets, wrap with
foil or plastic wrap, and store flat. Gingerbread will stay
reasonably fresh for several days.
Gingerbread Log Recipe
This sugary, snow-covered log
cabin is easily assembled from gingerbread "logs" cut out with
homemade cardboard patterns; you’ll also need a 12-inch square of
stiff cardboard for a "foundation". Complete the edible winter
wonderland with decorative details cut from leftover dough. Or use
your favorite holiday decorations – tiny Christmas trees,
figurines, toy reindeer, and the like.
¾ cup solid vegetable
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup molasses
2 tablespoons water
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon EACH salt, baking soda and ground ginger
¼ teaspoon EACH ground nutmeg and all spice
Icing Recipe follows
About 4 cups powdered sugar
In large bowl of an electric
mixer, beat shortening and granulated sugar until creamy; beat in
molasses and water. In another bowl, stir together flour, salt,
baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; gradually add to
shortening mixture, blending thoroughly. Cover tightly with plastic
wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).
Meanwhile, prepare foundation for cabin by covering a 12-inch
square of stiff cardboard with foil. Also prepare patterns for
cutting logs: cut lightweight cardboard into a 4 by 6-inch
rectangle (for the roof); ½-inch-wide strips that are 2, 3-1/2 and
6 inches long (for logs); and a ½-inch square (for spacers).
With a floured rolling pin, roll out a third of the dough on a
floured board to a thickness of 1/8 inch (keep remaining dough
refrigerated). Make 2 roof sections by cutting around roof pattern
with a sharp knife; transfer carefully to a lightly greased baking
Roll out scraps and all remaining dough to a thickness of 3/8 inch.
Then cut out eight 2-inch-long longs, two 3-1/2-inch-long logs,
seventeen 6-inch-long logs, and 30 spacers (1/2-inch squares).
Transfer cookies to lightly greased baking sheets (bake separately
from roof sections), arranging about 1 inch apart. From remaining
dough, cut out trees or other decorative details. Extra spacers can
be used for chimney and stepping stones.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until just firm
to the touch (cookies will harden as they cool). As soon as roof
section is baked, lay pattern on each section and evenly trim one
long edge (where the 2 sections will meet). Let cookies cool
briefly on baking sheets, then transfer to racks and let cool
completely. If not assembling cabin at once, package airtight;
freeze if desired.
Prepare icing. With a pastry brush, paint foil-covered foundation
with icing, then sift some of the powdered sugar over icing to
cover lightly. Assembly cabin, following steps 1 through 4 above
and using icing as glue wherever logs join. Decorate as desired
with extra shapes.
In most dry climates, cabin will keep for about 1 week. In humid
areas, cookies may absorb moisture and start to sag, so plan to
keep cabin for only 2 or 3 days before eating.
Gingerbread House Icing Recipe
In a bowl, beat together
2 cups powdered sugar and ¼ cup water until smooth