Thursday, December 24, 2009



For December's Daring Bakers' challenge we were asked to bake and decorate a gingerbread house. Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi gave us two recipes for gingerbread. Anna provided a recipe from Good Housekeeping magazine and Y's was from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas. I decided to make a half portion of Y's recipe. I didn't use the spices that the recipe called for since we did not plan to eat the gingerbread. I didn't want to waste any spices since they are expensive. But I did add just a bit of ground ginger and cinnamon to give a nice spicy holiday scent. The other requirement was that our entire house must edible. Nothing like cardboard or glue to help support the house was allowed.

This was definitely more like a construction and decorating challenge than a baking challenge. The dough came together easily and rolled nicely. I created a template for my roof and walls using a file folder and then cut out the pieces from the rolled dough before baking.


I made one large house and one tiny house. I cut simple triangles for my trees using the leftover dough.



Royal icing made with meringue powder was my glue and assorted candies were my decoration. A bed of finely shredded desiccated coconut provided the snowy landscape. I was amazed that the pieces of my house actually fit together since I'm not known for my assembly skills and I was equally amazed that the royal icing glue held it all together without drooping or sliding.

This was my first ever gingerbread house. Overall it was a fun challenge which brought out the child in me. :) Happy holidays to you and your family! See you in 2010.

Gromit's view from the sky

A perfect landing

The fine print:
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.

Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)
(from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas)

1 cup butter, room temperature [226g]
1 cup brown sugar, well packed [220g]
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

2. Cut patterns for the house out of cardboard.

3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.

4. [Y rolled out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick (which allows for fact that the dough puffs a little when baked), cut required shapes and transferred them to the baking sheet. Any scraps were saved and rerolled at the end.]

5. Preheat the oven to 375'F (190'C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Royal Icing:

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

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.



oonsky said...

what a cute gingerbread house! love the trees and candy logs. very neat. well done! happy holidays to you and yours ~

zorra said...

I like the tiny house! Well done. Happy Holidays to you!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That is so pretty! Really dreamlike...

Happy Holidays!



Karen @ Citrus and Candy said...

Beautiful work! Your house is so sweet and hehe love your 'dog' :)

Fran said...

This is so sweet! Have never tried this...maybe next year. Merry Christmas

creampuff said...


I feel like I haven't been here in forever! Your house is adorable.

Merry Christmas and all my best!

Lauren said...

Its beautiful! Happy Holidays =D.

Jill said...

I love the shape of your houses and the tiny house is too cute! My favorite is the crushed candy cane path! :)
Merry Christmas!!

Allison said...

The miniature house is just too cute! And I love the winter scene you set up. Congrats and Merry Christmas!

Jo said...

A very cute looking gingerbread house. Great job and wishing you great holidays ahead as well.

Rachel said...

A very petty house!

Y said...

Awww it's so cute! Love Gromit too :D

michelle said...

Such a pretty house. Beautifully done!

LtlLori said...

Your house is absolutely ADORABLE!!!

UFRV said...

Just a lovely house :) I hope you enjoyed doing it!

MeetaK said...

oh i am loving this. it looks absolutely adorable! hope you had a grand xmas!

Catalina said...

Very cute!
I love the path and little Grommit!

MandyM said...

Your gingerbread scene is just perfect. What a lovely house, beautifully put together and decorated. Lovely baking.
All the best for 2010 :)

steph- whisk/spoon said...

i can tell you had fun with this! it's a fantastic scene...almost looks like a cartoon. happy new year!

Half Baked said...

So cute!!! I love the little scene you made. wonderful!

Namratha said...

Very cute colorful gingerbread house, nicely done!

Mary said...

I love your winter gingerbread scene. I think you have the perfect amount of icing decorations. Not too much, and your designs really show off the gingerbread itself. Nicely done!

fairy_mi said...

Wow, what a fabulous gingerbread house!
Great shape and lovely decorations!
Wtg for the fabulous job!
(also a DB)

Maria said...

Such cute houses!

MªJose-Dit i Fet said...

Preciosa!!! me encanta, que mañosa eres...un beso

Mrs. L said...

Wonderful house, and every thing is better with a little Wallace and Grommit!