Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December 2009 Daring Baker's Challenge

This month's baking challenge was a gingerbread house. I have never in my life made one of these before, and let me tell you, it was not easy. It definitely took a while to finally complete it. I'm not sure if it is something I would ever do again, but we shall see. For now, i'll list the challenge below and my completed project.

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

I wasn't too fond of the recipes for the gingerbread, so I am posting an alternate I liked much better, and it was fairly tasty too.
Victorian Gingerbread House
"Cookies for Christmas" edited by Jennifer Dorland Darling
(you will need to make this recipe 2x for enough gingerbread)

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 Tbsp. vinegar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
(Do not double the recipe, make 1 recipe gingerbread two times)
In a large mixing bowl: beat the shortening on high for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves. Beat until combined. Add the molasses, egg, and vinegar and beat until combined. Mix in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time until you can't mix anymore in with mixer. If needed, mix the remaining with a wooden spoon. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or longer, until the dough is easy to handle.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Pick a pattern and cut the shapes out out of the paper. Grease flat baking sheets, or the back of baking sheets with cooking spray. Roll the dough on the pans, out to 1/4-inch thick. Place the pattern over the dough, making sure there is 1-inch spacing between the dough cut-outs. Cut around the patterns with a sharp knife, removing the excess dough. Make sure to cut out the windows if you have them. Do not thrown away the patterns, they will be reused. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned and the centers are just firm. (You may have to bake longer, depending on your actual oven temperature.) Place the patterns back over the dough and trim again. (The dough does expand quite a bit, thus the need for this step.) Bake the dough for an additional 3 minutes more, or until very firm. Cool 3 minutes on the pan. Loosen the bottoms of the gingerbread pieces with a spatula. Cool completely on the pans. Then transfer to wire racks. Repeat this process with the remaining dough and pattern pieces.
Use royal icing as your glue to put the house together. I used the directions from King Arthur Flour's website, entitled "Building A Gingerbread House" with Susan Reid.


  1. Great job on your house! I especially love the colored walkway up to the house. :)