Well I gotta say : I am pretty proud of myself. Yup.
I have somewhat managed to make a pretty decent gingerbread house this year. Gingerbread houses are the ultimate Christmas Baking Fantasies. I mean how COOL are they? They are houses. Made of gingerbread. AND royal icing. AND they somehow manage to stay upright. AND they look like Hansel and Gretel house. Without the witch. I mean forget the witch. Ok if you want a witch don’t hesitate to make it up in your mind or pretend it’s one of your colleague. Where was I?
Yes the Ultimate Gingerbread House.
You know, it’s not easy living in Paris and trying to make American/English stuff. Because for example, apart from the cups measures instead of grams, you guys have creme of tartar and dark corn syrup and light molasse. Ok we don’t even have molasse so how do you expect us to get even the light version? It’s not like Coca-Cola.
So I am going to give you the recipe I have used to make the gingerbread dough, with a French twist :
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature : 225 grams of butter, if you don’t have a robot, don’t worry, just get in there with your hands.
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar : that we have.
- 1/4 cup light molasses or dark corn syrup : That one we don’t have, we have “molasse” which you can buy at bobo store Naturalia. I recommend adding a bit of honey because the taste is very strong otherwise. You can do 50/50.
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons water : does Parisian water count? I mean we do have a high dose of limestone… ughhh… why am I even saying that ? Paris is a great city!
Once you mix all the ingredients together, it’s time to roll the dough and cut it in the shape of the house you want it to look like. I looked at a LOT of houses and what you need is just to print out the patterns via a printing machine and cut the paper forms to use of your dough. It’s like being back in Kindergarden ! Except that you do that at midnight when your daughter is asleep and that your Honeylove looks at you with strange eyes when you start cutting the forms all excited. He is right at that minute. It may turn to Chaos.
I recommend two things:
- Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough when you place your paper patterns on the dough, it makes a straighter line
- Cut the inside windows and details once you have placed the dough on your oven tray, otherwise, it might get complicated to get them back there anyhow (believe me I’ve tried several times).
Once those beauties are in the oven, I recommend baking them for 12 minutes under 170 degrees. Yes degrees !
It’s pretty magical when the gingerbread is done : you realize how much more work you’ve gotta do. Oh yes. You still have to assemble the whole thing together like a real Culinary Architect that you are.
Here is my royal icing recipe (just for you!):
- 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon of creme of tartar
With this recipe, you’re sure to get a nice-not-so-liquid icing which you will need to both decorate and assemble the house with. You can always pour in a little water for the filling if you think it’s a bit tough.
Always start by decorating the walls before assembling them. When you are done, let these beauties cool in the fridge overnight so you can do the assemblage (yes let’s use a French word) the following day (I mean night, come on I am a mum).
Here is an amazing video which helped me A LOT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMSBekqAT30
Now go do your gingerbread house. Take a week off from work and I guarantee that you can make it!
Kidding, mine took two days : one day for the baking and decorating the facades and cooling in the fridge. And the second day for the assemblage and final roof decorating.
But you know it’s so much worth it : your Honeylove takes pictures and is proud of you, your friends also take pictures, your daughter wants to just get in there and destroy the whole thing like a mini godzilla.
Merry Baking Preparations!