Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Made-from-Scratch Gingerbread House, Part One: Infrastructure

We did some things differently this year:

No kit gingerbread house, with its thick, heavy slabs of inedible gingerbread.
No royal icing, because raw egg whites? No.

This gingerbread is made from scratch, and even if I have to get out my hot glue gun, it will NOT fall down, by god.

Instead of those gingerbread house kits, (and boy, they were tempting, and priced to sell!), I used the basic gingerbread recipe from the Celebrating Christmas web site. I was extremely surprised to note that this recipe calls for no ginger--where the hell did it get the name gingerbread, then?--and there's no point in the recipe that actually calls for the one-half cup of water listed in the ingredients, although when the gingerbread dough still seemed extremely dry at the end of the recipe, I noticed that half-cup of water, threw it in, and...perfect!!!

At one point in time (our wedding, perhaps?) we were gifted with a set of about a billion plastic cookie cutters--over the years I've culled the absolutely ridiculous ones, so that we're left with a somewhat basic set of shapes, with a few seasonal cutters and some vintage odds and ends that I've collected here and there (mental note: buy me some dinosaur cookie cutters sometime!). For the gingerbread house, after I got the man to roll out the chilled dough to the perfect 3/16 of an inch thickness--
--I used a smallish square with a triangle whose base matched the length of the square right on top of it, and I cut around the two with a steak knife so that I wouldn't cut the shape in two:This is the front and rear of the house with the gable on top. That same small square can make the two sides of the house, and any larger square can make the two sides of the roof, with eaves that extend appealingly on all sides.

The dough recipe made enough for me to make a house for each of the girls, and probably could have made one or two more houses if you didn't allow for two little girls, one small--
--and one a little larger----to cut out their own gingerbread masterpieces.
And thus, at rest lie future gingerbread mansions, unaware of their glorious fate:

Wait until you see what we're using instead of royal icing.


Anonymous said...

I love it already! I've not made gingerbread in years, and I'm so lame, I had the kids make "gingerbread" houses with graham crackers on year.

julie said...

We do the chocolate graham crackers on Halloween with haunted houses, and it is pretty super-fun.

But, any excuse to buy candy, you know?