Gingerbread Houses from Scratch!

22 Dec

I made an appearance on Breakfast Television today! It was a little nerve-wracking but super fun. Here’s a link to the CityTV video of the segment.

Chatting with Tara!

My friend Kendra came over to help me assemble and decorate one house for the show. Making this a group activity makes it much faster and more fun!

Here’s the recipe that my friend Trisha sent to me. It’s from a very old Better Homes & Gardens. I’ll continue searching for a link, but for now here’s a PDF version of the gingerbread recipe & template.

Homemade Gingerbread Houses (and/or cookies)

1 cup shortening (I used butter)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup fancy molasses
1/2 blackstrap molasses (I just used blackstrap. Makes the gingerbread much darker)
5 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp each of baking soda, salt, cloves and cinnamon

In the mixer, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add in eggs and molasses. In a separate bowl, sift together flour and spices. Gradually add to wet ingredients until fully incorporated.

Divide the dough into four and wrap with plastic wrap. Refridgerate for at least 2 hours or for up to 7 days.

When you’re ready to bake your pieces, trace out the attached house template on waxed paper. Cut the pieces out and have them handy. Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Roll out one disc of dough at a time between two sheets of waxed paper until the dough is about 1/4″ (5mm) thick (or slightly thinner). Remove the top layer of waxed paper and cut out the template shapes with a sharp knife. Gently transfer the shapes to a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for about 20 minutes.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the gingerbread is golden. Let cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 1 large house, 5 small houses or several dozen cookies.

Royal Icing

4 cups icing sugar
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Sift icing sugar and cream of tartar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add in egg whites and beat on high for 7 to 10 minutes or until the mixture holds its shape. It should be very stiff! Makes about 2 1/2 cups of icing. Keep the icing covered while using it because it dries out very quickly.

To assemble your gingerbread house

Using the Royal Icing in either a piping bag or ziplock bag with the tip cut off, glue the front, back and sides of the house to the base. Allow to set, about 5 minutes. Glue on roof and again let set, about 5 minutes. Decorate with any candy or goodies of your choice: smarties, licorice, jujubes, pretzels, shreddies…anything you can think of!

Happy Holidays!
Jacinthe

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5 Responses to “Gingerbread Houses from Scratch!”

  1. Just A Smidgen December 22, 2011 at 8:47 PM #

    These are so adorable, love the licorice all-sorts chimneys:) Merry Christmas!!

    • jacinthe December 23, 2011 at 9:39 AM #

      Yes, the all-sorts were a genius idea for the chimney. They were too hard to eat which made me sad! Thanks for the comment. Jacinthe

  2. Wendy December 23, 2011 at 9:19 AM #

    Great segment Jacinthe, you made me feel like I could even make one!!
    You looked especially beautiful and sounded like a natural!!
    Merry Christmas

    • jacinthe December 23, 2011 at 9:39 AM #

      You can definitely make one!! Much easier than I thought it would be. Perhaps something Phoebe would like to do too? 🙂

  3. kris January 10, 2012 at 10:51 AM #

    Congratulations on the publicity! Your hard work is certainly paying off. All the best in 2012!

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