Why do we have gingerbread houses?
We have to thank Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and their bloodthirsty witch for that!
It got introduced all across Europe, but it were the Germans who really adopted the gingerbread creations into their baking tradition (in which they call the gingerbread cookies Lebkuchen), they even introduced an official League of Lebkuchen-Bakers in 1643.
Recipe for gingerbread
1⁄2 cup sugar (100 grams of white or 90 grams of brown sugar, which one you prefer)
1⁄2 cup molasses (165 grams)
1 1⁄2 – 2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon clove
2 teaspoons baking soda
1⁄2 cup butter (120 grams)
1 egg, beaten
3 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour (455 grams)
DIRECTIONS (READY IN 1 HR)
1. Add the sugar, molasses, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves into a medium sized saucepan. Stir occasionally until it hits a boil;
2. Remove from heat and then stir in the baking soda (it will foam up);
3. Stir in butter until it’s melted;
4. Beat the egg first and then stir it in with the rest of the ingredients. After that, stir in the flour;
5. Get the mixture out of the saucepan and put it on a floured surface. Knead the dough till mixed. Divide the dough in half, wrap half with plastic wrap and set aside;
6. Roll half the dough with a rolling pin, slightly thinner than 1/4 inch (0,5 cm);
7. Cut with cutters or print out the gingerbread house template or gingerbread man template, cut out the different shapes and place them on the dough, cut the dough shapes out with a knife;
8. Before baking the dough, you can set it aside in the freezer for about 15 minutes, this will prevent it from spreading while in the oven;
9. Bake at 325F (165 °C) on a cookie sheet for 12 minutes; cool on a wire rack.
Find all gingerbread house templates right here. They’re ready to use.Let's go!
How to build a gingerbread house?
INGREDIENTS for the ‘construction materials’
2 egg whites
4 cups (500 grams) icing sugar, plus a bit extra to dust
generous selection of sweets of your choice, choose your own color theme
1. Put the egg whites in a large bowl and sift in the icing sugar. Stir to make a thick, smooth icing. Spoon into a piping bag with a medium nozzle. Pipe generous snakes of icing along the wall edges, one by one, to join the walls together. Use a small bowl to support the walls from the inside, then allow to dry, ideally for a few hours.
2. Once dry, remove the supports and fix the roof panels on. The angle is steep so you may need to hold these on firmly for a few mins until the icing starts to dry. Dry completely, ideally overnight.
3. Using the icing, stick sweets around the door and on the front of the house. To mak icicles hanging from the roof, start with the nozzle at a 90-degree angle to the roof and squeeze out a pea-sized blob of icing. Keeping the pressure on, pull the nozzle down and then off – the icing will pull away, leaving a pointy trail. Repeat all around the front of the house. Your gingerbread house will be edible for about a week.