The other week I had an impromptu Gingerbread House party with my little brother and his adorable girlfriend. The decorating took place after Gigi went to bed, but I made sure to get her involved in the gingerbread cookie dough making. I’ve made gingerbread before, but not the actual pieces for my own house. It was pretty easy and really fun! Read on for the recipe and how-to!
Gingerbread Cookie Recipe (makes 4-6 houses)
adapted from Simply Recipes
6 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup molasses
1 or more Tbsp water
Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl, set aside. In a mixer cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy–like a bunny. Add the eggs one at a time, until blended, then add the molasses. I used my dough hook on my mixer, or you could do this next part with a wooden spoon/by hand. Add half the flour mixture to the molasses goop, knead, then add the rest of the flour. The dough will be pretty dry, add water by the tablespoon if the dough seems too dry. It should be blended but not sticky.
To chill my dough I split it into 4 parts. Lay down a piece of parchment paper and drop 1/4 of the dough down. Next sandwich the dough with another piece of parchment. Then roll the dough (while it’s in-between the two pieces of parchment) until it’s about 3/8″ thick everywhere. This is a great way to chill dough quickly. Use this method for sugar cookies too! Then stack the flat pieces of dough on cookie sheets in the fridge (with the parchment still sandwiching it!) and let chill for an hour. 20 minutes in the freezer could work in a pinch.
When you’re ready to cut out the cookies you can use cookie cutters (like I did for the mini horses) OR you can get wild and use paper and rulers to make your own templates. I had my brother and his girlfriend design their own templates for their houses and this was half of the fun! And my brother’s girlfriend got to feel the pressure while I judged her construction skills…KIDDING…
Note how we used paring knives and card stock to make our templates. Bake the pieces at 350 for 7-9 minutes. Pull the cookies out when they are just starting to brown on the bottom.
(P.S. Those are MY pieces, that’s why they look so much better than my brothers up above…)
Re-chill any scraps you have like you did the first batch. This will REALLY help keep the shape of your cookies. I’m not a gingerbread expert, but I am pretty damn good at sugar cookies and a lot of the same rules apply. K?! Use the extras to make some cookies for ME or your neighbors. Either or.
Royal Icing Recipe
1/2 cup meringue powder
Almost 1 cup of water
2 pounds powder sugar
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
This recipe makes a lot, but you want a lot so you aren’t worried about running out! You’ll have enough to cover your houses, use it as “glue” and to ice your extra cookies.
You’re gonna want an electric mixer, preferably a standing one. Sift the powdered sugar. I normally just WHISK anything that calls for “sifting” but in this case you actually want to sift! So use a sifter or a fine mesh sieve. Set it aside. With the paddle attachment in your mixer whisk the meringue powder with the water until foamy. Slowly start adding the sugar. Mix on low until blended, about 5 minutes. Next add the corn syrup, and then let the icing mix on med speed until it is glossy and stiff peaks form. Like so!
I scooped my icing into disposable icing bags with fine tips. BUT if you don’t have those you could use plastic bags with the ends snipped, or plastic squeeze bottles.
Now, FINALLY FINALLY you are ready to start assembling your houses! Turn on Elf and get started.
I WISH I WOULD HAVE DECORATED MY SIDES FIRST! Before assembling the house! I just didn’t think of it! Next year I will do some elaborate piping before I assemble.
I let that bottom part (above left) sit for about 5 mintues for attempting to add the roof. This really is good to do with a friend. It’s nice t have an extra set of hands. Eric added windows…show off.
But his house turned out so ugly I didn’t even take a picture. I’M A MEAN WIFE! I did however get a snapshot of my bro and Jane.
And one more of the Pony Chalet! I used candy melts cut in half for the “shingles.”
I can’t wait to really get intense next year! AH! You still have time to throw yourself a little Gingerbread House party! So get on that! Maybe I’ll let Gigi join in next time!