Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays! Homemade Gingerbread!

Happy holidays to all! I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and holiday season! I have been filled with WAY too much holiday spirit this year, but it has been a lot of fun!

This year David and I decided we wanted to make our very own gingerbread house! It was a perfect decoration for my holiday cookie exchange too!

Of course, I wasn't going to buy one of the kits stores were selling, so I went on the search to find a gingerbread recipe. Sure enough, Allrecipes had my attention again (AND David's, for that matter)! I didn't realize how much he liked gingerbread! But hey, we never stop learning about our loved ones :)

  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and egg yolk. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth. Cover, and chill for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Frost or decorate when cool.
David designed our gingerbread house patterns. He did a great job! I should have taken pictures of the patterns, but completely forgot about that... I will do better next year!

The platform of the gingerbread house was made by pressing dough into a mini cookie pan, then baked for the given amount of time. We left the gingerbread in the pan, let it cool, then began to build our gingerbread house on top of it.

The items we used to decorate our gingerbread house:
  • Nilla wafers
  • Mini candy canes
  • Pull and peel licorice
  • Swedish fish
  • Dots
  • Pretzel rods
  • Sugar cone
  • Sprinkles
  • Confectioners' sugar
  • Glue, to hold our house together (recipe follows)
  • Buttercream icing (recipe follows)
The neatest trick I found on the web was making an evergreen tree! It is an upside-down sugar cone, then you just pipe it with frosting! It was a lot of fun!

Gingerbread House "Glue" a.k.a. Icing (Click to view original recipe)

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 (16-oz) bag powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Beat all ingredients with electric mixer until still peaks form. 
Frosting for Gingerbread House (Click to view original recipe)
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food coloring
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners' sugar and shortening until smooth. Gradually mix in the milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. Color with food coloring if desired.  
Building and decorating our gingerbread house was so much fun! We had a few mishaps along the way, but hopefully next year we will be able to master the art of gingerbread house building! 

David destroying our gingerbread house....

Once we admired our fabulous gingerbread house for quite a few days, we decided it was time to crack into it! As you can see, David got a head start! The gingerbread was delicious! The spices were perfect and it was very moist! David and I liked it so much that I decided to make gingerbread men cookies for David's work - they were having a little holiday luncheon, so I thought these cookies would be appropriate!

I got a little carried away with the decorating, but it was a lot of fun! I used a basic butter cream frosting, which follows.

Frosting used for gingerbread cookies:
Buttercream Icing (Click to view original recipe)

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and vanilla. Blend in the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk, and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered until ready to decorate.
** Note: Can substitute all butter for half and half (shortening and butter).

 Happy holidays everyone! 
"NO! Not the buttons! Not my gumdrop buttons!"
-Gingerbread Man from Shrek

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