Why do people make gingerbread houses for Christmas?
The intricate cookie-walled houses with gold leaf and foil decorations were known as Christmas traditions. Their recognition increased after the Brothers Grimm published Hansel and Gretel, a tale in which the protagonists discover a mansion constructed entirely of sweets tucked away in the forest.
A gingerbread house requires a lot of work (unless, of course, you get one of those pre-fab houses, in which case these notes will be of little help).
Advice on Decorating a Gingerbread House
To complete this gingerbread home craft, you must visit the grocery store's sweets aisle. You are free to use any confectionery you like to decorate your home.
However, if you bring children with you, you will almost certainly end yourself purchasing more candy than you need (though they do have the best ideas of what candies would be good for various decorative effects).
Red hots, tiny gumdrops, and candy canes are all very useful. Waffle-patterned cookies can be used as roof tiles, while chocolate truffles can be used to make a stone wall surrounding the house.
To add beautiful patterns to the house's walls and roof, pipe royal icing. Candy bits can be "glued" to the house using royal icing.
Gingerbread House Recipe and Icing Recipe
Prep: 1 hr 15 min
Cook: 15 min
Total: 1 hr 30 min
Yield: One recipe of dough makes one
- 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), at room temperature
- Dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup
- 1/4 cup of either dark corn syrup or light molasses
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon of ginger powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of clove powder
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
- 2 cups of general-purpose flour
For assembly and decoration, use the following materials:
- Royal icing or melted white chocolate, recipe after
- As desired, add gumdrops, licorice, and peppermint
- if lumpy, sift 1 pound (3-3/4 cups) of powdered sugar.
- 1–2 large egg whites, or an alternative 1/4 cup water and 4 teaspoons of packed egg whites.
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice, vanilla, or almond extract
- Gingerbread House: Combine the butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and baking soda in a large mixing basin and beat until well combined. For a stiff dough, combine the water and flour. Until firm, chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Set oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The following paper patterns should be cut out to make the gingerbread house template: The front and back of the house are made up of two 3 by 5 inch rectangles. For the roof, cut two 3 by 5 1/2 inch rectangles. Two sections, each 3 inches wide at the base, 3 inches to the roof line, and inclined to a peak 5 1/2 inches from the bottom, serve as the ends of the home. For the ceiling and sides of the entrance, four smaller rectangles, 1 1/2 by 1 inch, were needed. And for the front of the entryway, one piece that was 2 inches wide at the base, 1 1/2 inches to the roof line, and inclined to a peak 2 1/2 inches from the bottom.
- On a sizable cookie sheet without a rim, spread the gingerbread dough to the edges. Onto the rolled-out dough, press paper patterns. Cut around each piece with a straight-edged, sharp knife, but leave the pieces in place.
- The dough should feel firm after baking at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes.
- Place the patterns once more on top of the gingerbread, then trim them by trimming the edges with a straight, sharp knife. Let the baking sheet cool.
- Put royal icing in a pastry bag fitted with a writing tip, then pipe decorations, windows, doors, and other desired house features as you choose. Dry until completely solid.
- Royal icing should be used to join the corners of the house's sides, front, and back. Put something against the pieces to support them until the icing is dry (it only takes a few minutes).
- Attach the two roof pieces with glue on the house's pitched roofline. Next, use icing to adhere the ceiling and sides of the entrance together. Join the front of the house to the entrance.
- Add more decorations to the house as desired, such as gumdrops, licorice, and peppermint.
- Royal Icing: Using an electric hand mixer, combine all the ingredients until the icing is smooth and thin enough to be squeezed through a pastry bag fitted with a writing tip. If more lemon juice is required, do so.
How is a gingerbread house made to stay put?
Simply heat a pan with the sugar over low heat. It should be allowed to turn brown, but watch out for burning it—it won't taste as good. After that, take the parts of your gingerbread home, dunk the edges in melted sugar, and hold them together for a short while. I'm done now!
How far in advance of Christmas should a gingerbread house be made?
You have two to three weeks before Christmas to prepare your gingerbread house. A gingerbread home kit typically lasts two to three weeks while remaining edible and fresh. If you build the gingerbread house from scratch, it will still be fresh and suitable for consumption four weeks before Christmas.
Is a gingerbread home supposed to be hard or soft?
Since you won't want to eat it the day you build it after all your hard work, gingerbread for houses needs to be hard and dry so that it holds its shape nicely.
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