Saturday, December 26, 2009

Daring Bakers: Gingerbread House

I knew after missing last month's Daring Baker's challenge (I'm still planning on making those cannoli!) that I needed to step up to the plate and get this month's done.

And so, without further ado, I present to you my first ever gingerbread house, er, church.

It really wasn't hard at all. I don't know why I haven't tried it before. You make the dough (see recipe below) and let it rest in the fridge. Then roll it out and use a paper template to cut out the pieces. I used a template from this site.

I used royal icing to glue my pieces together.

Golden Grahams made for good shingles and a tasty snack to boot.

A sprinkling of powdered sugar is the finishing touch.

Thanks so much to Anna and Y for this awesome pick. I wouldn't have tried this on my own.

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.

Spicy Gingerbread Dough (from Good Housekeeping)
Click HERE for the online version

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)

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.


Judy said...

I like the simplicity of your gingerbread church. Nicely done! This was my first gingerbread house ever as well, and I, too, still have the cannoli on my to-do list. Happy holidays!

s said...

Very nice idea to make a church..looks good.

Megan said...

Simple and perfect. Although I've never used whipping cream in my gingerbread house recipe, I'll bet it tasted really, really good.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your church is so pretty! I love the tiles...

Happy Holidays!



Katrina said...

Love it! I like the Golden Graham shingles! And I love how you placed just the right ones in the right places. Great job.

Jill said...

Your gingerbread church is so beautiful!! I love the golden graham idea for the roof! :)

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

I am in awe of the creations I am seeing today. What a wonderful church, I love the curling shingles.

Grace said...

great structure, jacque! my favorite thing about it is definitely those shingles--what a cute idea!

Y said...

LOVE your gingerbread house/church! The roof especially has been made to such great effect!

Jenny Tan said...

What a great idea to make a church! Love the shingles! :)

Aparna said...

Just saw this at the forum and thought should tell how much I liked it.

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year.

Jennywenny said...

Very cute! I think I'll try again next year with a more ambitious template. I made a very boring house and stuck a ton of candy on it to make up for it!

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

The church looks great!! I've always been intimidated, though you've made it look so easy!

Michelle said...

Wow that is very awesome gingerbread house!