Monday, December 28, 2009
What could be better than taking the holiday to face my fear? Like this gingerbread house which from reading DB Forum it gave me a huge doubt that I could ever build it or have the patience to work out the pieces. It seemed like a huge task, and therefore I had been hesitating until the last moment when the challenge had come to haunt me closely. I gave in and built everything from scratch..... for the very first time.
And my worry during the proces was whether royal icing is capable to stick gingerbread pieces together. I was surprised it did it all. The dough was chilled for two days and as I was rolling it into the desired size, it shrank substantially (about 10%) so I decided I would chill it for only half an hour (enough to rest the dough) the next round I happen to make it again. As a consequence, the initial drawing has to be scaled down to 90%. The amount of dough is just nice for the number of pieces that I needed. But one and a half recipes of royal icing was needed for such elaborate work.
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. Thanks to Anna and Y for this great challenge!
Have made some adjustments to the recipe for my own convenience. Original recipe could be found here
Happy New Year, Everyone!
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
- 1 cup boiling water
- 5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]
- 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.
- Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.
- 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.
- Cut required shapes and transferred these to the baking sheet.
- 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.
2. Royal Icing
- 1.5 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.
- For decoration or detailing, pipe royal icing on gingerbread pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren't using royal icing 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.
- Pipe on the edge of the house pieces and join up together. Hold with your hand for a while until the royal icing set or lean these pieces to a box.