Friday, May 20, 2005

gingerbread house

(notes: you’ll need to bake at least a few days ahead of construction for the dough to dry completely. This is not a particularly good recipe for eating, but is marvellous for building with)
1 pound honey
½ cup water
1 ¼ cups sugar
juice of one lemon
2 eggs
4 ½ tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
600g (approx 4 cups) whole wheat flour
600g (approx 4 cups) rye flour
1 ½ tbs baking soda
3 eggs yolks, beaten

In a saucepan, combine honey, water, sugar and lemon juice. Stir, over medium heat, until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature, then pour into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add eggs and spices. Mix.

In a large bowl, whisk together wheat and rye flour. Remove about 1/3 of the combined flour and set aside in a smaller bowl. Add baking soda to the larger amount and whisk to combine. Fold, about 1/3 at a time, into honey mixture until a soft dough forms. Scrape onto a floured surface and knead in remaining 1/3 of flour. Divide into four parts and wrap each in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Roll out dough, working with ¼ at a time, between sheets of parchment cut to the same size as baking sheets, to ¼-inch thick. Peel off top parchment, brush surface with beaten egg yolks, and transfer dough and bottom parchment to baking sheets and bake at 325-degrees for 10 to15 minutes. Cool, then cut out construction shapes using a template (you should have plenty of dough to cut doubles in case of breakage). Return shapes to pans and set where they can dry completely over several days.

To assemble, use royal icing to glue together pieces and to attach decorations. Gather an assortment of candies and other accoutrements to decorate with. Shreddies are particularly good roofing material, and gelatin sheets make excellent windows.

Where to find it:Create your own template, or enter keywords “gingerbread house templates” into your computer’s internet browser to find designs to work from.

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