27. prosinca 2009.
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'm a big kid. I am. And I'm not afraid to admit it. :) I am instantly drawn to anything colorful, shiny, loud or just plain useless. Maybe it's because I work with children and am constantly surrounded by them, or maybe I'm just a bit slow at growing up. I don't know. But I do know I'm happy that way and I don't really consider growing up as being an option for me. So building a gingerbread house was the right kind of challenge for me. :) I was thrilled and couldn't wait to start building it. So, here it is... My very first gingerbread house! :)
I used Martha Stewart's Swedish gingerbread cottage template as the blueprint for my house. I made some minor adjustments and I'm really happy with how it turned out. The main idea was to keep everything simple and make it look as realistic as possible. I used the Scandinavian Gingerbread recipe and didn't have any major difficulties. I anticipated that the dough might be too dry, so I prepared more water than the recipe asked for and ended up using the whole cup. After the dough was chilled everything else went surprisingly smooth.
Since I wanted my cottage to be realistic, I decided to make the glass for the windows. I crushed some hard candy and made a few piles on the baking sheet. I popped it in the oven and after 10 minutes I got beautiful stained glass for my house. When it cooled down, I glued it on the windows from the inside before gluing the walls together. As a final touch, I put some gingerbread bushes and a tree in front of the house and a few cinnamon sticks to represent firewood. In the end I spread some leftover royal icing all around the house and sprinkled everything with some powdered sugar to create the illusion of snow.
Oh, I almost forgot... Happy holidays and best wishes to all of you! :)
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 [120ml]
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. Cut required shapes and transfer these to the baking sheet. Save any scraps I 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. Cool the pieces completely before attempting to assemble the house.
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.