Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gingerbread Houses

Back in highschool my sister and I started doing gingerbread houses.  Nothing extravagant - just classic houses for fun!  Over the years I've gone through a lot of gingerbread recipes, interesting patterns (which resulted in the use of a glue gun on multiple years), and various icing recipes. (Side Note: muffin pans work great for holding all the various kinds of candy.)

Last year I was fed up with trying to get the shape just right so that it would hold together - when it bakes it inevitably spreads! - and purchased this gingerbread house mold.
This works great although a little time consuming.  One side creates a brick house (see below) and the other creates a log one (see bottom).  I bake the dough directly in the pan, lightly greased, to maintain shape.  No question of bad fits and pretty easy.  This is actually my brother and sister-in-laws' house.  (Mine is at the bottom.)  They tend to take a lot of time decorating theirs...
Here's the recipe I used this year.  I added 1 tsp cinnamon, some cloves and nutmeg and used a little less flour.  It wasn't great tasting but I wanted to do a recipe with shortening rather than butter because most people tend to eat the candy, if anything, and not the house.  Why waste the butter!?

This year I tried out a Fluffy Meringue Icing from the Wilton recipe that's included in the can.  This worked great!  It doesn't dry rock hard like royal icing, has a great sheen and is pure white.  Just a tad sticky to work with!  (Make sure to keep plastic wrap over the bowl while you're going along.)

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