Barbara's Beat: MOMtrepreneur Baker of the Day: Gingerbread House Tutorial

Sunday, December 11, 2011

MOMtrepreneur Baker of the Day: Gingerbread House Tutorial

Nicole from Tradewind Tiaras not only knows how to throw a Fairy Party, she knows how to make a pretty Gingerbread House.
Operation Gingerbread is what her family calls making thousands of the magical little houses every year. She shares the recipe she uses and the tutorial on Paula's Frog Prince Paperie.

White House Gingerbread
• 2 C granulated Sugar
• 1 C plus 2 T brown sugar
• 1 C Crisco solid shortening
• 3 T molasses
• 4 eggs
• 1 ½ t salt
• 2 t baking soda
• 6 C flour
• 1 T ginger
• 1 T cinnamon

1. Cream the shortening and sugar in a large stand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until fluffy. Add the molasses, salt, soda, ginger, and cinnamon. Mix completely. Add the flour, one cup at a time. The dough will become very stiff, and the bowl will be quite full. Once the flour is incorporated, turn the mixer off. It is a very stiff dough, and the object is to incorporate the flour, nothing more.

2. Roll dough to a generous 1/8” thickness directly on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Trace around paper stencils (available for publication) to cut out the walls and roof of a gingerbread house. Lift away the excess dough on the cookie sheet with a spatula or knife. Be sure to leave some space between the pieces—the dough does expand while baking.

3. Bake at 375 degrees for between 10 and 14 minutes. Slightly over-baked (short of burning) is better than slightly under-baked as you need rigidity for constructing gingerbread houses.

4. Let the cookie pieces cool completely before assembly—even overnight. When cooling and storing, do not stack the pieces more than three high. If you do, the pressure will cause warm cookies to cement together.

It was originally published in Mailbox News (a cake decorating magazine), and is the actual White House gingerbread house recipe used by then White House Pastry Chef Hans Raffert.

Operation Gingerbread’s Top 10 Tips:

Tip 1: Buy the cheapest store brand of shortening you can find.
Tip 2: Don’t roll out the dough on the counter and transfer to a cookie sheet to bake.
Tip 3: Especially if you are going to be making multiple houses, roll the dough out on parchment paper.
Tip 4: Simply put a Silpat down on the counter. Put the parchment on top of the Silpat and ta-da, it sticks!
Tip 5: Your dough will spread at least a bit while cooking, especially since this recipe doesn't require chilling before rolling (and is WAY easier to roll because of that little fact).
Tip 6: Let pieces cool completely before daring to stack any up to save space. Once completely cool, you can stack the pieces three or four high to save counter and cooling rack space.
Tip 7: When making royal icing, I always make the version with meringue powder.

Sweet, Edible Cement: Royal Icing
• 6 egg whites
• 1 t cream of tartar
• 2 lb (1 bag) powdered sugar
• ½ t clear artificial vanilla

1. Pour egg whites into an impeccably clean mixing bowl, free from all traces of grease. Add the sugar and cream of tartar and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 10-15 minutes, until the icing is stiff. A stand mixer is also very helpful here.

2. To prevent crusting over, keep the bowl covered with a wet cloth at all times. Be sure all utensils used to mix and store royal icing are free from any traces of grease. This is critical, as even the smallest trace of fat means that the icing will not set.

Mix up a big batch, and prevent it from crusting over by putting a wet towel over the bowl.

Tip 9: Especially if you’re going to make multiple houses, seriously consider an A-frame design.

Tip 10: Don’t underestimate the decorative power of royal icing.

Well, that's an abbreviated version. Go get the full tutorial and see the play-by-play photos.



A To Zebra Celebrations said...

ohhhhh this is so cute! my girls will love it!

Rachel @ Following In My Shoes said...

We always make gingerbread houses during December but I have not made fresh gingerbread for them. I would love to try when my kids are older!

Anne - Mommy Has to Work said...

I tried one of the box kits one year - did not work well.

Courtney said...

I love making gingerbread houses!

Penelope said...

Awesome! I can't wait to start doing things like this with my son.

Nicole @ Tradewind Tiaras said...

Thanks so much for the kind words! I love sharing the gingerbread joy!

Laurie said...

I have always wanted to this, these are some really great tips and cute ideas!