Saturday, 26 December 2009

Daring Bakers Gingerbread House for Christmas

Little Gingerbread House

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.

I must admit that I was lucky enough to grow up with a mother who was making gingerbread cookies on every single Christmas and some of the years we got more wild and built the gingerbread house. I remember that one year there was an accident with the house though, there was a little elf standing in front of the house holding a candle in the hand and when we weren't looking he set the house on fire. Anyway, we forgave him and continued our Christmas dinner.

I went with the Scandinavian recipe for the dough, since it's more from my side of the town. Yes, I did experience the same problem as everyone else that the dough seemed too dry, but I decided to ignore it. Since it was going to sit in the fridge for overnight, I thought that hopefully its better the next day. I was right! Dough was joined together much better, however it was quite difficult to work the cold dough, I had to put all my strength into the game. I did my own templates and designed my house rather smallish, taking account the fact that its only two of us consuming it, if any. I cheated a little bit and instead of sugar syrup I used melted chocolate to glue the bricks together.

Building in process

Scandinavian Gingerbread from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas

226g butter, room temperature
220g brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
100 ml boiling water
875g all-purpose flour

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until blended. Add cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.
2. Roll the dough on a floured surface, cut required shapes and transfer these to the baking sheet.
3. Preheat the oven to 190'C. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm.
Leave cooling on flat surface to maintain the perfect shapes.

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