Making a gingerbread house is a great family activity that can be shared with young and old alike. The great thing about making your own gingerbread house instead of using one from a box is that you can make any design you want.
-poster board or other type of thin cardboard (cereal boxes work well)
-ruler, pencil, scissors
-gingerbread dough (see recipe below)
-icing (see recipe below)
-baking sheets (number needed depends on the size of the house you are building)
-decorative candy (gumdrops, M&Ms, lifesavers, sprinkles, etc.)
Making the gingerbread dough is the first thing that needs to be done. To make the dough you will need:
4 cups flour
3 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp all spice
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
2 egg yolks
Mix together the flour, spices, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar with a mixer until the butter turns white. Beat in the molasses and the egg yolks. Carefully mix in the flour mixture until the dough is smooth.
The dough should be put in a sealed container and in the refrigerator for at least three hours.
To make the icing you will need:
-2 large egg white
-2 2/3 cup powdered sugar divided
Wisk together the egg whites and 1 1/3 of the powdered sugar until it is smooth. Add the remaining powdered sugar and uses a beater on high until little stiff peaks can be formed. If no peaks can be formed then add a little more powdered sugar. Place a damp towel over the bowl to keep the mixture from drying out. When you are ready to use the icing pour it into a pastry bag (or use a freezer bag with a corner cut off to squeeze the icing out of).
Assembling the gingerbread house:
1.Decide on a design idea. Sketch and cut out the cardboard pieces. Test out the template with the cut-out poster board pieces taped together. If the pieces stay together with the tape you can be sure that the gingerbread pieces will stick together with the icing.
**Remember that the pieces need to bake on a baking sheet; so make sure that your pieces are no bigger than 12 by 15.**
2.Once you have a sturdy design, roll out your gingerbread dough and use the template pieces to cut out the pieces from the dough. The dough should be about 1/8 inch thick when rolled out.
3.Bake the pieces at 350 for ten minutes.
4.To assemble the house squeeze the “glue” (icing) from a pastry bag around the edge of one wall piece. Press an un-glued piece against the glue for a few seconds to let it set. Continue doing that with all of the pieces until the house is built.
When the house is built it is time to decorate. Use the rest of the icing as “snow” on the roof and around the house. To apply the candy pieces use a small amount of icing on one side and stick it to the house. Use your imagination and the possibilities are endless.