18 December 2009

Make a Fun Holiday Gingerbread House

From Denny: OK, so when was the last time you made a gingerbread house for the holidays? These can range from the very simple to the extravagant and are a lot of fun, displaying your holiday spirit for all to enjoy and admire.

Just think of all the edible items around your house you can use to decorate. A chef shows us how to make an awesome one! I went and got the recipe and the stencil pdf file links for you all in one place should you decide to make this particular one. Even if you don't have time this year, think about doing it for next year!

Every year I love to watch the White House specials that display the White House chef's Christmas gingerbread house. It sure is spectacular and quite an artwork.

This video will make you smile! Take a look:

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Gingerbread house

Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner of Wallse restaurant


For gingerbread dough:

• 2 sticks butter
• 1 3/4 cup brown sugar
• 1 1/4 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons molasses
• 1/2 cup golden honey
• 6 eggs
• 7 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 4 teaspoons cinnamon
• 4 teaspoons ground ginger
• 2 teaspoons all-spice
• 2 teaspoons ground cloves
• 1 teaspoon nutmeg

For icing mixture:

• 1 pound of powdered sugar
• 2 egg whites
• 1 tablespoon vinegar

Materials to assemble:

• 14x20 inch base for house. Can be a piece of wood or cardboard.
• Exacto knife
• Offset spatula
• Pairing knife
• Pastry bag
• Cornet
• Pastry tip
• Template
• Decorations: pretzel rods, hard candies, marshmallows, nuts, candy canes, shredded coconut


For gingerbread:

In a stand mixer on a medium speed, mix together the butter and sugar until well incorporated, then add the molasses and honey. Next, slowly add the eggs until well mixed. Finally, add the sifted flour, spices, baking soda and mix this for 5 minutes.

Wrap in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator overnight.

Use cutting board to roll out dough 1/4-inch thick. Place template over rolled out dough and cut out your shape with knife. Don't throw out excess dough; instead save this to make gingerbread cookies later!

Tip: Keep in mind your dimensions will be restricted to a 12 x 18 baking sheet and your templates should be made accordingly. Templates can be purchased from craft stores, found online, or traced from an architecture book you admire.

Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit until nicely browned (about 15 minutes).

Tip: Add a shiny pearl-like finish to house. Remove gingerbread from oven, while still warm use pastry brush to coat with sugar mixture. For sugar mixture, place 3 parts sugar and 1 part water in a pot and bring to boil. Stir around with a wooden spoon along the rim of pot until the liquid becomes a light milky color. Then it is ready for use. This gives the house a shiny pearl-like finish.

For icing:

After your gingerbread pieces have cooled (preferably overnight), you are ready to begin assembly using the icing mixture as glue. This icing mixture should be prepared just before its use and placed in pastry bag. Simply mix the powdered sugar, egg whites, and vinegar in a mixer until smooth.

Tip: Adding vinegar to your icing mixture producers a very strong glue-like power. You can also add food coloring to this mixture to create icing in your favorite holiday colors!

To assemble:
Coat your entire base (either piece of cardboard or 14x20 wood) with icing and place the back wall of your house on the base, coating the edges again with icing.

Next place the side walls on, again coating all the edges with icing, followed by the front piece. The roof, which is in 2 pieces, goes on last, again coating the edges with icing before applying. If you like you can coat all of the exposed edges with icing for a finished look. Now we are ready to decorate.

Tip: Building your house from back to front allows easier mobility while working and ensures that you will leave enough room for the "front lawn" of your house.

Decorating can be done with several items you can find around the home. Hard candies like peppermints, Red Hots, and Smarties work well. Marshmallows, wrapped Hershey Kisses, yogurt pretzels, cotton candies, and nuts can also be used. Simply use your icing to attach all d├ęcor, as you like.

Tip: Use assorted nuts to create a cobblestone path. Shredded coconut works great for snow and cotton candy can be used for smoke coming from your chimney. Yogurt cover pretzels and candy canes (cut in half and turned upside down) can be used to make a fence surrounding the house.

Display and enjoy!

front of house pdf file

side panels pdf file

roof pdf file

*** THANKS for visiting and have a fun filled holiday!
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