I’m not a big fan of gingerbread, but I’ve found that I really like chocolate gingerbread. But, let’s be honest: the best thing about gingerbread is its potential for decorating fun. So in celebration of the Christmas spirit, I spent a whole day trying my hand at making gingerbread for the first time and making a pretty centrepiece. Spoiler: it’s super delicious.
In a stand mixer, combine 1 cup unsalted butter, 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup molasses.
Add 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ginger, and 2 egg yolks. Keep the egg whites.
Add 4.5 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of cocoa powder.
Combine thoroughly and knead until smooth. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1/2 hour and preheat the oven to 350F.
Using recycled cardboard, cut a 12cm x 20 cm and a 12cm x 12cm stencil.
To make the royal icing you will need to put the gingerbread together, you will need 3 ounces of egg whites and you can start with the 2 you put aside. whisk with 1 teaspoon vanilla until frothy. Then, on a low speed, gradually add 4 cups of icing sugar.
To make the white icing you will want to decorate your house, beat one cup of unsalted butter until smooth. Incorporate 3 cups of icing sugar on a low speed. Increase the speed and add 1 tablespoon vanilla, 4 tablespoons of whipping cream, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Roll the dough out and, using your stencils, cut 5 12×20 sections and 2 12×12 sections. Try to ensure that the pieces are as even in thickness as possible so that thinner sections do not burn. I added windows to 2 of the 12×20 sections by cutting out thin strips before baking. Bake in preheated over for 18-20 minutes.
Fill a piping bag (or ziplock with the corner cut out) with royal icing and form the walls of your house with 2 of the 12×20 sections and the 2 12×12 sections, securing to your base with royal icing and holding in place for at least one minute until stable. I did this on top of a disposable cake platform that I got at Bulk Barn, but you can do it on any solid flat platform that will fit the minimum dimensions of your house. Secure a third 12×20 section with royal icing flat on top of your walls as the base for the roof. Let stand and harden.
In the meantime, take the final 2 12×20 sections and secure them together with royal icing along the long edge at a wide angle. This will require a lot of icing and a long period of being held in place. You can either let the icing dry while holding the pieces together with your hands or by using weights to keep the roof at the desire angle. put icing on in between the two pieces at the edge, but add extra royal icing to the inner and outer seams and press that icing into the crease by running your finger along the icing.
Now it’s time to decorate! I chose to make a brick house and a tiled roof. I put white sugar pearls on the roof and m&ms along the edges of the roof. For snow, I took a 4 pronged approach: coating my base with white icing, coating the icing with unsweetened coconut, adding sugar sparkles and sugar pearls, and then finishing off by sifting icing sugar used over the whole thing. I also bought some translucent sparkly icing to make an ice effect on the edges of the house and around the window frames.
Posted in: Beauty