Wednesday, December 15, 2010

gingerbread-the perfect recipe

Every year growing up my mom would make each child in our family a gingerbread house and we would each get to decorate our own, put them together, and sneak the candy off of  all December long. On New Year's Eve at the stroke of "midnight" (or 10 o'clock) we would each break our houses and eat them by dipping them in milk to soften them up. LOVED IT. So of course, we've carried on the tradition (although I don't eat quite as much of the hard month old gingerbread as I used to . . . ) This last weekend we made our gingerbread house-sometimes I get a little anal about only using green, red and white candy, but this year I tried to relax (I still nixed the orange though-just couldn't quite let go). The little buddy put the candy on of his choosing and I helped with the frosting, and daddy made good suggestions about where to put stuff while holding the little sweetie. Lots of fun. Anyway, but I thought I'd share my awesome recipe with you all (which was originally one my mother got from the gingerbread lady in our ward (church congregation)). So I hope it's not a trade secret I'm sharing :)

GINGERBREAD (not great for gingerbread men-not soft enough-but good and firm for houses)

1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. oil
2/3 c. molasses
1 egg
2 3/4 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 T. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. cloves

cream brown sugar and oil. Add molasses and egg and mix well. Add dry ingredients. Chill dough overnight. Roll dough on an oiled peice of foil. Place on cookie sheet and bake in 300 degree oven for 20-30 minutes (1/2 inch thick (although I do mine more like 3/8 inch)). Place *pattern for walls on gingerbread and cut before baking (mmm. . . .never done that step . .. I guess I should read more carefully). Then trim with pattern on hot baked gingerbread (i always just cut it out while it was hot-burn your fingers all over hot). Lift out carefully and cool on a cake rack (or counter) until completely cool. Use royal icing to glue together


3 egg whites (room temperature)
1/2 t. cream of tartar
1 lb. confectioners sugar

combine all ingredients and beat throughly until icing stands in peaks. Keep bowl covered at all times with a damp cloth. (When exposed to air it starts to harden-which is what keeps your house together.)

*I don't have my mother's original pattern so I made my own a couple years ago. It fits well into a 11x 17 baker's sheet. Here are the dimensions I use-use them or up or make your own (the beauty of this is that it only uses one sheet for the whole house) Keep your pattern as one piece and just cut notches to indicate where to actually cut on the real gingerbread)

A few helpful hints:

1. hold your "pattern" over your rolled out gingerbread before you bake it to make sure gingerbread it is rolled out far enough.
2. when the gingerbread comes out hot-cut out around the outside and use a knife to cut windows and door. then cut the little notches on the sides and then use the edge and a pizza cutter to cut the straight inside lines (down the middle and in three sections)
3. The front and back fit on the inside of the sides when squaring up the house.
4. decorate the house before putting it together. That way the kids can enjoy decorating without waiting for it to be put together, and usually they're bored and ready to go play by the time it's time to put it together-which makes it a lot easier.
5. when putting the roof on, hold one side and add extra frosting under the eave and then hold it for a minute or so for it to set a bit before adding the second roof. Sometimes they have a tendency to start sliding off.


The Barnes Family said...

I never knew gingerbread making could be so awesome. Thanks for opening up a whole new candy world to us!!

Holly said...

I have always been a bit intimidated about making a gingerbread house but...I used your fantastic recipe and template and it turned out fabulous. My kiddos had so much fun decorating it that now I am going to make one every year! (Maybe even one house for each of them.) Thank you so much for all of your excellent ideas and projects! Have a Merry Christmas!


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