Daring Bakers – Christmas Gingerbread

Before I begin please let me apologize to the hosts this month,  Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi, I did not do this months challenge any justice as I HATE, yes hate, making Gingerbread Houses, but I did complete all requirements!

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

As I mentioned in my opening line I hate making gingerbread houses.  I used to really enjoy making them up until a few years ago, they were just turning out horrible and I would get angry and it wasn’t fun anymore.  It was about 2 weeks before the December Challenge was posted I told everyone “I’m not making a gingerbread house this year, they just make me angry and it’s just a waste because I hate the taste of gingerbread and all the candy just gets tossed”.  Then the Challenge was posted, I was not happy at all. Seriously? a gingerbread house? I was really hoping for a nice Christmasy dessert that I could showcase at Christmas dinner.  This is what the challenge is so I ran with it…I completed all requirements.

Your house can be as big or as small as you’d like, but it MUST meet these requirements:

1. Everything needs to be edible – no glue or inner non-food supports allowed.

2. You must bake the gingerbread yourself, whichever recipe you choose. No graham cracker houses please!

3. You must use some sort of template. If you don’t use ours, take a picture or link to what you do use in your final post. It doesn’t have to be super technical – Anna didn’t even measure hers, she just cut out shapes from parchment and made sure the edges matched up.

4. Your house must be able to stand on its own. If you want to go adding balconies with candy stick buttresses or whatever go right ahead, but the main house itself must be free-standing.

Gingerbread – I used Anna’s Recipe (made half the batch)

2 1/2 cups (500g) packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (360mL) heavy cream or whipping cream
1 1/4 cups (425g) molasses
9 1/2 cups (1663g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon(s) baking soda
1 tablespoon(s) ground ginger

1. In very large bowl, with wire whisk (or with an electric mixer), beat brown sugar, cream, and molasses until sugar lumps dissolve and mixture is smooth.

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and ginger. With spoon, stir flour mixture into cream mixture in 3 additions until dough is too stiff to stir, then knead with hands until flour is incorporated and dough is smooth.

2. Divide dough into 4 equal portions; flatten each into a disk to speed chilling. Wrap each disk well with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until dough is firm enough to roll.

3. Grease and flour large cookie sheets (17-inch by 14-inch/43x36cm)

4. Roll out dough, 1 disk at a time on each cookie sheet to about 3/16-inch thickness. (Placing 3/16-inch dowels or rulers on either side of dough to use as a guide will help roll dough to uniform thickness.)

5. Trim excess dough from cookie sheet; wrap and reserve in refrigerator. Chill rolled dough on cookie sheet in refrigerator or freezer at least 10 minutes or until firm enough to cut easily.

6. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (149C)

*I made my own template*

7. Use chilled rolled dough, floured poster board patterns, and sharp paring knife to cut all house pieces on cookie sheet, making sure to leave at least 1 1/4 inches between pieces because dough will expand slightly during baking. Wrap and reserve trimmings in refrigerator. Combine and use trimmings as necessary to complete house and other decorative pieces. Cut and bake large pieces and small pieces separately.

8. Chill for 10 minutes before baking if the dough seems really soft after you cut it. This will discourage too much spreading/warping of the shapes you cut.

9. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until pieces are firm to the touch. Do not overbake; pieces will be too crisp to trim to proper size.

10. Remove cookie sheet from oven. While house pieces are still warm, place poster-board patterns on top and use them as guides to trim shapes to match if necessary. Cool pieces completely before attempting to assemble the house.

Royal Icing:

1 large egg white
3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract

** there was no mention of water in the recipe, but i had to add at least 3 tablespoons to get it to come together, it was looking like Styrofoam packing pieces**

Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren’t using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.

Yes its tiny and very tacky, but I think it is hilarious!!  I met all the requirements but had to make it fun for myself.  I knew I would not be happy with one that I tried to make perfect so I went with a “redneck Gingerbread” design. haha

forgot to clean up after their dog! Watch out for yellow snow!

4/4 family with the track in the front yard, tearing up the dirt

a nice big woodpile to keep that fire going,,,notice the smoke in the chimney

some sort of inflatable palm tree? must be as there is snow, so couldn’t be real.  Appears that the kids like to through snowballs at the house?

and last but not least a giant tanker to clear the snow…Memories  of the Toronto Snowstorm….Looking like it may attack the faceless snowman.

All and all it did turn out to be fun.  Thanks for the Challenge, as it was truly a challenge for me to do this.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

6 Responses to Daring Bakers – Christmas Gingerbread

  1. ChattyCha says:

    don’t eat yellow snow! that was a great touch. you can’t help but have fun when making a gingerbread house, even if you start out hating. cheers!

  2. tikitonic says:

    OMG this is hilarious!! Great job, glad you had fun with it!!

  3. squeaky mouse says:

    absolutely crazy but i love it! well done!

  4. pontch says:

    This is adorable
    Great job
    happy Holidays :)

  5. Jill says:

    I love the redneck theme–too cute! :)
    Merry Christmas!!

  6. Wic says:

    it really is pretty redneck and I adore it. I love your twist to this months challenge.

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