Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Daring Baker's Gingerbread Houses

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.
At first I thought I was way too busy to do this challenge but then I kind of got excited by it & in the end Matt & I had so much fun making our little houses that I'm really glad we did it. I decided to do a village of small houses which for some reason seemed more managable to me than one big house. Then I spread the project out over 3 days which also made it not seem so big. Day 1, I made the dough & let it refrigerate overnight. Day 2, using templates for 2" x 3" house that I found here & here.
I just cut the templates out of paper & laid them on the dough then cut around them with a sharp knife. Here are some things I learned. 1. Flour your template. 2. Press the knife down to cut the dough don't drag it or your dough will pull. 3. Remove the template right away or the dough will stick to it & ruin your piece. I also cut out a few small trees to add to my village. I used different cake decorating tips to make textures on the roof pieces before baking. I didn't have much trouble with the dough shrinking while cooking though it did puff up in some places. I let the cooked gingerbread pieces sit overnight on the counter to get really dry.
Day 3, was all about decorating & assembly. I good stiff royal icing is really key to getting the houses to build easily. With thinned it out with water as needed for different types of decorating. I used meringue powder in my icing which worked really well.
We did some of the piping work for windows & doors before putting the houses together. We figured it would be easier to do with the pieces lying flat. I made a base for the village from a piece of cardboard covered in tin foil. Then we piped a line of icing for each side of the houses to help secure them. After all four sides were up we let the icing dry before putting on the roofs. Then came the fun part of adding all the other decorations.
We thinned the icing out with a little water to coat the trees & make the dripping snow on the roof. Thick icing made great smoke from the chimney.
The next week I got invited to my cousin Lucas' first grade class to help make a gingerbread house as well. We went a little easier route by attaching graham crackers to milk cartons with frosting but the results were just as cute!
Gingerbread House Day
This post is dedicated to my $7 Target hand beater that met an untimely death while making royal frosting.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at OR at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2009 Kathy Lewinski


Jamie said...

Love your little village! It's super pretty with the white, red and green. Looks like you had fun and the dough seemed to work quite well for you. Excellent job!

Lori said...

RIP hand mixer, RIP. :)

This is so fun. Your village looks great. I just love gingerbread houses. My mom always makes a great one, but she usually starts with a kit and decorates on her own from there. This is impressive.

tonic said...

Wow, great job on your gingerbread houses!! I love the texture you had on your rooftops!

Meseidy said...

RIP hand mixer....job well done. It's a heck of a way to go.

Tangled Noodle said...

Your village is wonderful! The details are great, especially on the roof. Wish one of my classes involved making gingerbread houses - lucky Lucas and classmates!

Rose said...

Your village and your cute cousin are so sweet.

Too bad about the Tarjay mixer but now you have a great excuse to go shopping! Just wait until the holiday hoopla is over though.

Unknown said...

Your houses look to have come out perfectly! Great little village!

Unplanned Cooking said...

Those are so cute! We made gingerbread houses this year, but I ended up using graham crackers as I didn't think I'd be able to pull off homemade ones. Looks like you did perfectly!

Fresh Local and Best said...

I can't believe that this was the dare for December! It's such a hard challenge, but you accomplished it with flying colors!

Lauren said...

They're so sweet! I love all of the houses =D.

Anonymous said...

your houses look fantastic and delicious!

Anonymous said...

congratulations on this daring baker! your village is just lovely!

Kate said...

Those are darling. Good job!

Pamela said...

What sweet little houses. I think it would be too much for me to do though!

chef_d said...

your gingerbread village looks adorable :)

Kiyi Kiyi said...

Oh so cute!
I love your little village and the texture on your roofs is so neat.
I'm from MN too - hope you survived the snowstorm!

Karen | Citrus and Candy said...

My condolences to your hand mixer :( But at least your houses were fabulous!

Pontch said...

I'm sure the gingerbread men love to lives in your amazing village
what a beautiful village :)
Happy Holidays !

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

I love how festive your little village is with the Christmas colors!! Great job on this challenge! :)
Merry Christmas!!

Sheltie Girl said...

Gorgeous little houses! You did a wonderful job on your gingerbread houses.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Unknown said...

Aw what a precious village! I love your textured roofs.

Y said...

Oh nooo poor $7 beater! I hope you got your money's worth out of it! :)

Impressive village of houses, by the way!

silverrock said...

Awww... you made an entire gingerbread village! Way to go on this month's challenge, you rocked it out! Keep up the amazing bakes.

Anonymous said...

A whole village. I love it. You were really ambitious.

Anzj said...

Your colored houses are just ouzing Christmas all over the place. Those roofs. The green details. The lovely red. Love it!

Beth said...

LOVE IT! I adore all the piping details on the windows. Great job, you two!

Lisa said...

WOW, what an absolutely perfect and beautiful little village! I had enough trouble making one house, so kudos to you for making several! The -piping is phenomenal! Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year!

Jenny Tan said...

Wow, what an amazing and fun village you have there! Happy 2010! :)

Anonymous said...

I love your interpretation of the challenge! It was a great idea to texture the roof pieces. Oh, and sorry about your mixer. :(

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