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Monday, December 8, 2008

Gingerbread House

About three years ago I met a woman Zina who had a family tradition of making homemade Gingerbread Houses each year with her family, she had done it as a child, and had carried on the tradition with her kids, when I saw how fun her houses were, I decided that I wanted to make it a tradition as well. Don't get me wrong, it's not an easy process, but the finished product is awesome, and makes all of the effort worth it in the end! So I am going to detail the process in my next few posts for anyone else out there who wants to start the tradition. This is my second year doing it, and I learn something new each time. These are a few of the houses that I have made, the decorating credit goes to my sister in laws Dani, Marybeth and myself.

Gingerbread House
1 ½ Cups Sugar
1 ½ Cups Shortening

1 ½ Cups Molasses
3 egg yolks (save whites for icing)
1 ½ tsp Salt

3 tsp Baking Powder
1 ½ tsp Baking Soda
3 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp ground cloves
2 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground nutmeg
6 Cups Sifted Flour

Cream sugar and shortening and then add all ingredients in second group. Add seasonings from last group and mix well. Switch to dough hooks and add flour; beat for 10 minutes. Place in fridge for 3 hours minimum. Roll dough to ¼” thickness on a greased cookie sheet (a rolling pin that fits inside your pan or on top of the bottom of your pan if flipped over works nicely, make sure all your pieces will fit on the rolled out dough before baking). Dough will cover 3 silver cookie sheets completely. Cut out patterns into dough before baking. Bake dough at 350˚ for 20 minutes or until dough is slightly underdone. Once dough is out of oven quickly cut out pieces for a second time then move to a cooling rack. Do not attempt to cut pieces once the dough has begun to harden, it will crack and break.**

**However if you have a piece that does crack or break, if you place the dough back in the oven for a minute or two to re-warm, the gingerbread becomes soft and pliable again and you can push the broken pieces back together and let them cool, then carefully remove the mended piece for your house. Also, when you make the windows you will re-heat the pieces which is why you want them slightly underdone, and the "glass" from the windows will help to mend broken areas as well.**

You can either use a hot glue gun for assembly, or you can make it completely edible by heating up 1 C. Sugar in a frying pan at 400˚ to melt the sugar, then turn it down to keep it hot at 300˚. Dip the pieces into the sugar then place them together to assemble. Put the sidewalls on the inside of the house.

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