For many years now, we have created and decorated Gingerbread Houses. It started off as a simple project that we were going to do, and had friends come over to share in the fun. I make the Gingerbread several days ahead of time, to give it time to cool and harden. I have created four smaller houses as well as two larger houses.
This isn’t MY recipe. It is the one I use that has worked well. I have made it at least for three years, and keep coming back the same recipe. Having it here on my blog will ensure that I can find the recipe again and again.
6 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves or allspice
1/2 tsp salt
12 tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup dark molasses
1 tbsp water
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Using stand mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy and well blended. Beat eggs, molasses and water in until well combined. Beat half of the flour mixture into the molasses until smooth. Stir in remaining flour. Knead with dough hook until well blended. If dough is too soft, add a little more flour. Wrap dough in plastic and refridgerate at least two hours, to overnight. You can make upto 3 days ahead of time. Let sit at room temperture for at least 10 minutes before rolling out.
Print or draw the following pictures. Mine are not usually to scale if I print them. My roofline is more like 4 inches rather than 6 1/2″. I do this in order to get more small houses, but if you are looking to make one or two larger homes, go by scale.
Preheat oven to 350°F, with the oven rack in the middle. Have several cookie sheets ready, preferably ones that you know will not warp in the heat of the oven. Use silpats or parchment paper to cover baking sheets. Cut the dough in half. On a silpat, flour lightly and roll out one half of the dough with a rolling pin until it reaches a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Place pattern on dough and cut with a sharp knife or dough cutter. Carefully transfer to prepared baking sheet and when the baking sheet is full, bake. Bake 11-15 minutes for the large pieces, 6-8 minutes for the small pieces. Rotate the cookie sheets half way through the baking for even browning. Transfer pieces carefully to racks to cook. Finish cutting pieces and cooking. I can usually get 1 large house and two smaller houses out of this recipe. One year I even managed 4 small houses, but some of the pieces were a little thin. I even cut trees, gingerbread men and doors per kid.
I made royal icing to construct the gingerbread houses. I also pasteurize the egg mixture to make sure no one gets sick if any icing has been snuck.
2 large egg whites
2 2/3 cup powdered sugar, divided
Whisk together until smooth the egg whites and 1 1/3 cups of the powdered sugar. Microwave the egg white powdered sugar mixture for several seconds (it takes me over a minute usually) until the mixture reaches a temperature of 160 degrees, but not higher than 175°F. I check with a thermometer to make sure I reach the correct temperture. Add the remaining 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar and mix until you reach stiff peaks. Use a damp towel over bowl of icing if you aren’t using immediately.
I premade each house in order for them to be solid and ready for the kids to decorate the day before. I make more frosting for decorating and usually put the frosting in a small individualized cup for each person to keep it separate.