Archive for December, 2009

Ginger Bread House

Two months have passed by, my family and I took giant steps in life again by moving back to Europe.

Yes, a lot of stories to tell but let me just tell you one of them right now… My culinary shock…hahaha… My first time going to the supermarket was overwhelming… major gluttony sin, I wanted to buy everything because everything is so cheap. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, autumn vegetables, fish, cheese…etc,etc. I had to stop in front of every rack on every isle, my trolley was full before even my half way trough. In Jordan, we do have everything, but everything is so expensive.  After the supermarket came the trip to china town…ahhh… heaven on earth 😛 .

Oh, just thinking about it makes me hungry… so better start on the challenge story. As you all know skipped last month challenge, I felt bad, so this month I just have to do it, this is my first time too on doing a December challenge, strange…how I never  have time for it, until now of course.

Making the dough was not a problem, but building it was tough, syrup every where, ginger bread sticking on my fingers, my children kept bugging me with their “decorating advices”, I manage to make the house stand by it self, but my finishing touch is not as picture perfect as I wanted it to be, but I had fun and definitely next time better 😉 .

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.

Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)
from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas

1 cup butter, room temperature [226g]
1 cup brown sugar, well packed [220g]
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to 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. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.

3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.

4. Rolled out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick (which allows for fact that the dough puffs a little when baked), cut required shapes and transferred these to the baking sheet. Any scraps  saved and rerolled at the end.]

5. Preheat the oven to 375’F (190’C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Royal Icing:

1 large egg white
3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract

Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren’t using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.

Simple Syrup:
2 cups (400g) sugar

Place in a small saucepan and heat until just boiling and the sugar dissolves. Dredge or brush the edges of the pieces to glue them together. If the syrup crystallizes, remake it.