A year ago (2008), in cooking class at school, we were given the Christmas task to make Gingerbread houses. Unfortunately, carrying a house made of gingerbread, with non-dried icing and bits of M&M's around 4 other classes can only lead to a disaster. I did manage to take the house home (After fending off my friends) but it was in 7 pieces (a side of the house broke) instead of the proposed one. I did manage to glue the various pieces back together, and took some photos of my amateur house. I had big hopes for the gingerbread that was, and was fully gutted at the result. As you can see, it was a bit of a disaster.
This year (2009) however, I was determined to create a grand house. A house that stands up longer than 5 minutes, a house with class and dignity. After booking out the kitchen (By which I mean, I told everyone to NOT go into the kitchen whilst I was there... luckily my parents were at work and my sister watching various You-tube videos), I started the delicate process of baking the cookie dough. The recipe I used though didn't have much ginger in it, so I added an extra 3tsps! Honestly, who wants non-gingery gingerbread?! (The recipe made extra, so I was able to make Gingerbread men, Teddy Bears, and Trees. All of which got decorated) =)
After spending 2 hours baking the walls and roof, I began the construction of they golden mansion *cough* I convinced my boyfriend to come around, and help me to connect the walls together, and stick the various decorations on the plain walls. Any way, as it turned out, I managed to get bits of icing EVERYWHERE, whilst he sat there in amusement to the mess I had just created. Of course, one must sample and taste the delicious candies, before placing on the house. We only wanted to use the 'Cream-of-the-Crop'.
I found that it wasn't as hard as I had remembered when I was in cooking class. I think that was because I had all the time in the world, whilst at school I had an hour to bake the gingerbread, and then only a mere hour to decorate!
Anyway, I made the gingerbread house, and to my family's approval, we all ate the glorious beast. My sister and I ate the roof (no surprises there) and my parents who have apparently 'Left Their Childhood Behind' and 'don’t Find Gingerbread Houses Exciting' definitely did not say no to a wall each. Of course, leaving to walls left, and me being the baker, I ate both. XD
All in all, I think I have just started the ritual of making a Gingerbread House for Christmas.
The Recipe for the Gingerbread House is:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest
- 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Cream the butter and the sugar together. Add the egg and mix well. Mix in the orange peel and dark corn syrup. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves and salt, mixing until well combined. Chill dough for at least 2 hours, I like to chill overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters. (Or us Place cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are firm and lightly toasted on the edges.