Sunday, December 23, 2012

Make homemade gingerbread houses!

I'm pretty sure I have never done gingerbread houses from scratch since we tried it in high school.  Because my oldest is 14 and youngest 4, I figured it was a good time to try it out.  We found a recipe for gingerbread boys in my old Betty Crocker cookbook and used the same recipe for our gingerbread house walls.


(I quadrupled this recipe and came up with enough dough for four gingerbread houses)

1/2 c. shortening (I used coconut oil very successfully)
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. dark molasses
1/4 c. water
2.5 c. flour
3/4 t. salt. (I used about 1/4 to 1/2 t.)
1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. ginger
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. allspice

Also needed: 
Candies to decorate the houses.  Our choices are shown below.
Cardboard for support for the walls.
Decorator's icing.  The recipe is below.

Cream shortening and sugar.  Blend in molasses, water, flour, salt, soda ginger, nutmeg and allspice.  Cover.  Chill 2-3 hours.  Remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 20 minutes.  I think the coconut oil made it harder than it needed to be.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll dough 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured surface.  (Betty Crocker recommends a cloth covered board. Using a post it note as a template, cut out 6 squares, then carefully place on a baking sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes.  Cool completely.

My daughter used our leftover dough to make a little Christmas tree and four chimneys.

Fold another post-it note in half diagonally.  Cut about 1/8 inch off the edge, making a smaller square.
Use the square as a template for the support for the walls of your house.  
Trace the post-it note 4 times, side by side.  Score the cardboard along the outside border, cut.

Score each joining edge of the walls...not all the way through.  Fold into a cube shape.  Fasten with scotch tape.

Make your decorator's icing.  I found an egg free recipe, so we could eat our candy afterwards.  I think I made 4-6 batches of this stuff for our houses.  Be sure to have enough of all the ingredients.  When we ran out of powdered sugar and used less, it wasn't as effective in holding our houses together.  

Decorator's Icing, egg free.

1 c. powdered sugar.  
2-4 t. milk
2 T. corn syrup
1/4 t. vanilla.
Mix, use to hold houses together and to attach candies. We put some into ziploc baggies with the edge cut off for careful designs and used a knife for the rest.
We used coconut, peanut m and ms, skittles, mint candies, gummy bears, candy canes, sprinkles, Hershey's kisses, red vines and red hots.  
Frost the cardboard.

Attach the walls and roof with icing.  The best house had a flat roof with the 6th piece broken in half to make a peaked roof.  I highly recommend one older person per younger person in order to prevent stress.
Add candies with icing.
This is the hobbit house my brother and I made with the leftover things.
Admire for a day, then begin to deconstruct by eating!  (or just admire, depending on the sugar policy at your home)

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