1. Plan ahead, leave yourself plenty of time, DAYS!!! If you didn't read my previous posts you need to be forewarned it literally takes DAYS, unless you are just super human. It seems like every process needs an "overnighter", the baked pieces need to dry "overnight", the royal icing mortar needs to dry "overnight" to stick, so there you go I forewarned you!
If you do this you will be fine! and if you are patient...
2. Pick your recipe, make mine, or one you trust, because nothing would be worse than having failed gingerbread after you are prepped!
3. Use meringue powder for your royal icing, I don't know about you but something about dealing with uncooked egg whites, just grosses me out (plus if you have little ones like me inevitably they will lick the icing so we don't want to go there! just an FYI!)
4. Just have fun, enjoy, the excitement of decorating and seeing your masterpiece is fun!
recipe adapted from Gingerbread House from http://www.texascooking.com/features/dec2001gingerbreadhouse.htm by By Dorothy Sibole a pastry chef in Austin, Texas
- 1 cup butter at room temperature
- 1-3/4 cups brown sugar
- 1-1/4 cups white sugar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 6 eggs
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon allspice
Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Using a gingerbread house pattern or freehand, cut out paper patterns for the walls, roof and chimney, and set aside.
*Loco Cocoa tip: cover these with saran wrap so they don't get all sticky and ooo-ey, gooey)
Also, don't forget windows and doors, either cut them out, fill windows with crused lollipops or lifesavers and bake, or score doors and windows to ice later. And don't forget to save the door you cut out to bake as well (you can always make another door if you have to if you are like me and trashed that piece of scrap!!)
Another suggestion about the house pieces is that next time I have considered baking my gingerbread then sawing the pieces out, or using the pattern again and you can always saw on that to make them more smooth to adjust for that baking puffiness.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Beat in the molasses and eggs.
In another large bowl, sift dry ingredients. Combine mixtures and knead into a smooth ball. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
On a well-floured surface, roll out a small amount of the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick. Place one of the paper pattern pieces on the dough and cut around the edges.
(*another loco cocoa tip: use a pizza cutter, it works fast and smoothly)
Gently, using the spatula, lift the dough and place it on the prepared cookie sheet.
Put all scraps into a bowl and cover. Save these for the kids to play with, or to make gingerbread men.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly firm. Let cool on racks until firm enough to handle. Set the pieces aside to dry thoroughly overnight.
See there is the overnight thing!
Royal Icing Recipe adapted from McCormick but you can find many variations out there
3 T. meringue powder or powdered egg whites
1 lb. of confectioners sugar, sifted
6 T water
Beat all ingredients in a large mixer for about 10 min, until a stiff peak forms.
*Loco Cocoa tip: I followed this and had way too much water, so I would suggest adding the water little by little until right consistency forms, I added more sugar to get it stiffer, so there you go!
And remember this is gingerbread for a house not gingerbread men to eat, or gingerbread, very different consistencies wanted for those type of things, we will have to go down that road one day, at a later time, I am about done with gingerbread for now.
Until next time for a new treat adventure!!!
And again please share pics of your gingerbread creations and any tips or recipes you may have, who knows I could just feature you on my blog!!!,