All-from-scratch Gingerbread House
Happy holidays! I was really hoping it would snow this Christmas but we're still in the 40s here in New York. E & I are off to Vermont for the new years but this weekend we stayed in and made a gingerbread house! I don't normally have candies in the apartment so we made our scene extra snowy with only royal icing and (expired) marshmallows.
Have you ever made your gingerbread house from scratch? It's rather easy and looks so much better than the store-bought kits. If you don't know what kind of house you want to make, a quick google search will do the job, with lots of downloadable templates too! I like to make my stencil with the USPS Tyvek envelopes, they're similar to chipboard and you can get a bunch free from the post office.
I love this recipe from Molly Yeh - it's sturdy and eggless, aka no egg wastage on something you won't really be eating. I also love the idea that it's extremely versatile, you can change up the sugar and syrup to adjust to the colour you want. Plus, the entire place smells like Christmas and what's not to like about that.
For an extra oomp of spice and honey, make yourself some mulled wine and sip on it while spending the afternoon piping dots around mini door frames and windows. I highly recommend it!
Makes one large house. Adapted from Food52.
For royal icing:
2 egg whites
100-200g powdered sugar
For the walls:
340g dark corn syrup or molasses, or a mix of the two (depending on how light or dark you want)
150g dark brown sugar
170g unsalted butter, cut into smaller pieces
512g all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
- In a medium bowl, combine corn syrup or molasses, brown sugar, and butter. Microwave for 30 second increments, stirring in between, until everything is melted and the mixture is homogenous. It should take 2 to 3 minutes.
- In another bowl, combine the flour and spices. With a wooden spoon, stir in the warm sugar mixture, until combined with no dry bits left. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° F and prepare your stencils. You can either make them or find them online. (Read above)
- Trim a sheet of parchment paper to fit a sheet pan and place it on your rolling surface. Gently pat your dough into a flat circle, lightly flour the top and start rolling. When the dough is around ⅜"-¼" thick, place your stencils on top with at least half inch in between them. Trim the pieces using a pizza roller or a pairing knife. Remove excess dough, leaving the cut pieces, and slide the parchment onto your cookie sheet. Depending on thickness of your dough, bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges just start to brown. Re-roll any dough scraps for the rest of your pieces.
- Allow the pieces to cool slightly, or until cool enough to handle, than transfer to a flat surface to cool completely, especially if your sheet pan is a little warped. Cool completely.
- To make the royal icing, slowly add egg whites to the powdered sugar, until it reaches the consistency of toothpaste. Adjust the consistency with more egg white or powdered sugar for piping and glueing. Assemble, decorate and have fun!