Gingerbread House for my son Mark
The recipe for this gingerbread dough was kindly shared with me by my Finnish neighbor Kaija. I love it so very much!!! It makes the best gingerbread cookies I ever tasted! I just had to tweak it a little tiny bit by using honey instead of corn syrup (it just adds another fantastic layer of flavor) and subtracting some baking soda so it puffs up…
The recipe for this gingerbread dough was kindly shared with me by my Finnish neighbor Kaija. I love it so very much!!! It makes the best gingerbread cookies I ever tasted! I just had to tweak it a little tiny bit by using honey instead of corn syrup (it just adds another fantastic layer of flavor) and subtracting some baking soda so it puffs up less in the oven, especially if you use honey as it reacts with baking soda making the dough rise. The original recipe does not call for ginger, and really is complete even without it, but I add it anyway. After all, this is gingerbread 🙂
Gingerbread cookie dough recipe
2/3 cup [(two thirds) of (1 US cup) = 157.725491 milliliters] dark corn syrup or honey
1 + 3/4 cup sugar (white, brown, or combination of two. The more brown sugar you use, the more flavor it adds)
1 + 1/2 cup unsalted butter (250g)
6 cups AP flour
3 large eggs
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground clove
2 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of ground nutmeg
In a mixer bowl, beat eggs and sugar and combine with cooled syrup.
Add baking soda.
Add flour, one cup at a time.Cover the dough and let rest in the fridge overnight (up to 2 weeks)
Roll really thin. Bake at 190 С (375 F) for 12-13 min if you are making cookies, and 175 C (350 F) for 17-18 min if making a house pieces.
To bake the house pieces, I was rolling out the dough directly on a cookie sheet to avoid any damage or distortion during the transfer, and used fondant impression mats to create the texture. I then placed the entire cookie sheet into freezer for 3 min, cut pieces using my templates, chilled for another 5 min to minimize raising and spreading in the oven, and then baked.
Once pieces finished baking, I immediately trimmed them once again to make sure all sides are straight.
The blowtorch trick
After the pieces were baked and trimmed, I used my handy blowtorch, which really made the textures pop!
Decorate walls before assembling
Before I started assembling the walls, I made sure to decorate them as much as I could before setting them up into vertical position. It’s much easier to decorate on horizontal surface, ask me how I know! 🙂
To make fir garlands, I rolled some green fondant into snakes, and using my Exacto knife made close slits along 2 sides of it. I then pinched the middle line with sharp pointy scissors, holding them almost parallel to the table.
The sparkly red roof
I assembled the walls using Royal Icing, let them harden overnight before placing the roof. Use cans to prop up the walls and stabilize during the drying time.
When I did, I realized I made a mistake and cut my roof pieces too short.
At this point I needed to make more dough and make more roof. But this time I had a better idea. Instead of making bigger roof pieces, I decided to make roof tiles and some extra flaps to cover the hole at the top.
And I wanted the house to have some fun and festive color! So I thought, why not making it match my living room and make it fun for myself at the same time? 🙂
Once they were baked, I started placing them on the roof with RI. I made a red paint with thinned Royal Icing and gel food color. I also made some red sparkling sand by placing regular sugar, gel food color and pearl dust into a zippy bag and giving it a good shake.
I then painted the tiles with my RI paint using a wide flat brush and immediately sprinkled the surface with colored sugar, very generously. I made sure to press it in with another brush.
Once everything was dry, I brushed off the excess sugar and painted some white RI for the snow.
To make the snow sparkle, I made a mix of Disco dust (also known as Mystical Dust “Snow Sparkle”, also known as Rainbow Dust “White Hologram”) and White Glitter Dust. I lightly brushed all “snow” surfaces with water and using large puffy brush applied the glitter by lightly touching the surface (don’t drag, tap!).
To create windows I made some simple candy by combining sugar and water and heating it on the stovetop until it reached 300F.
I then poured it into the window boxes while placing the walls on silicone mat.
You can also melt some store bought hard candies, place them in a coffee mug and carefully heat in microwave with 10-20 seconds intervals. Just remember to be very careful and have a bowl of icy water within reach. Melt candy completely and pour into the window boxes.
I also placed an edible image with photograph of Mark on the front window, sandwiching it between 2 layers of poured sugar.
To light the house
To make the house cozy, warm and glowing, a string of Christmas lights may be placed inside to light up the candy windows. You have to make an opening on the back wall at the time of baking to place the lights through it after. Make it big enough so your hand can fit inside in case some lights placement will need to be adjusted.
I used some cinnamon sticks for a pile of firewood logs. I thought they look very realistic and compliment the smell of gingerbread just great!
Have fun baking and decorating, and Happy Holidays to all of you !!!