Quarantine Cooking Episode 32: Gingerbread Houses

Kids love to make Gingerbread hHouses at the holidays, but those store-bought ones usually taste like cardboard. Why not make one that actually tastes good? The first step is to make Construction Gingerbread, which is sturdier than standard Gingerbread Cookie dough. Head to Facebook Live at 2pm on December 23, 2020 and follow along with us on Quarantine Cooking Episode 32: Gingerbread Houses.

As always, Chef Baker recommends using weight measurements rather than volume measurements. Click here to find out why!

Construction Gingerbread
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
1 hr 45 mins
 

Dough for gingerbread construction projects is perfectly edible; it just has more flour in it to make it sturdier than gingerbread cookie dough would have. It's simple to put together, and can be used for gingerbread men, trees, and other decorations, as well as for the house itself.

Course: Dessert
Author: King Arthur Flour
Ingredients
For the Gingerbread
  • 85 g butter or 6 Tbsp
  • 170 g buttermilk or 3/4 cup
  • 227 g brown sugar or 1 cup
  • 170 g molasses or 1/2 cup
  • 1 large egg
  • 602 g all purpose flour or 5 cups
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
For the Icing
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 454 g unsifted confectioner's sugar 4 cups
  • food coloring, optional
  • flavored extract, optional
Instructions
For the dough
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the buttermilk and butter until the butter is just melted; remove from the heat.

  2. Add the brown sugar and molasses, then beat in the egg.

  3. Whisk the baking soda, spices, and salt with 1 cup of the flour.

  4. Add this to the wet mixture and mix until incorporated.

  5. Add flour 1 cup at a time until you have a smooth, stiff dough. It should be stiff enough to be flexible, and neither crumbly nor sticky.

  6. Divide the dough in half, flatten each half, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  8. Using a quarter of the dough at a time (return the unused portion to the refrigerator), roll the dough 1/8" thick on a piece of parchment.

  9. Cut your construction pieces as needed, pulling away the scraps to be re-rolled. Transfer the dough, parchment and all, to a baking sheet.

  10. Bake the dough for 10 to 12 minutes, until set and very lightly browned at the edges.

  11. Remove from the oven and trim any rough edges while the pieces are still warm. Cool completely before using for construction.

For the icing
  1. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy.

  2. Sprinkle in the sugar gradually, whipping all the while. The more you whip the icing, the stiffer it'll be and the faster it'll harden up.

  3. Cover the bowl of icing, taking out only as much as you'll need immediately. The easiest way to store the icing for long periods of time is in a plastic pastry bag, or zip-top food storage bag.If you want to "paint" with the icing, use food coloring to create different colors and thin the icing with a few drops of water so it will flow.Note that this gingerbread is quite plain, as it's not really designed to be eaten. For bolder flavor, double the amounts of cinnamon and ginger, and increase the amount of salt to 1 1/4 teaspoons.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes
If you want to “paint” with the icing, use food coloring to create different colors and thin the icing with a few drops of water so it will flow.
 
Note that this gingerbread is quite plain, as it’s not really designed to be eaten. For bolder flavor, double the amounts of cinnamon and ginger, and increase the amount of salt to 1 1/4 teaspoons.

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