in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gingerbread Houses (a long standing tradition)

My friend Kris Monson gave me this recipe almost 20 years ago. I am not sure where she got it and I don't think she remembers either. So sorry I cannot give an original source. There are many recipe variations for gingerbread but I have always used this one--I like the taste and the dark color. This makes enough for one small house. It is easy to double or triple for a bigger house or multiple houses.

Gingerbread for Houses

2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground clove
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening
½ cup dark molasses
1 egg yolk

Mix dry ingredients In a mixing bowl. Add shortening, egg yolk and molasses. Mix until thoroughly blended. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Press dough together and roll out on a floured board to ¼ inch thickness. Using a template, cut out house front, back, sides, roof and chimney. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes and remove from oven. Place templates over cookie pieces and trim edges using a pizza cutter. Remove templates and return gingerbread to oven for an additional 3 minutes to harden. Remove from oven and allow to cool on sheets for 5 minutes then place on cooling racks to finish cooling. Assemble and decorate as desired.

Hints: Making a template is easy. Get some thin cardboard or heavy card stock and make a front and back about 4 or 5 inches square with a gable about 3 inches higher. Cut a door into the front. Make the sides the same height as the front walls about 5 inches long. You will need to cut out two roof slabs that are a bit longer than the gable lengths and a bit wider than the sides--by a bit I mean about an inch so that the roof overhangs the gables and the sides by about 1/2 inch each way. I love using this dough to bake small diamond shaped cookies and drizzling them with a simple lemon flavored icing. They are one of my favorite winter cookies.

One of my family's favorite holiday events is our annual gingerbread night with the Monson clan. We always do 4 to 8 houses between the two families. Over the years the creativity has been incredible. The bungee jumping Santa, the "food storage" houses,the two face house, the rock cottage, the yurt, the Rapunzel boggles the mind. And then there were the beautiful and the cute. All ended up delicious, as are the memories. Thanks Monsons!

1 comment:

  1. We sure do miss this yearly event, and have begun our own tradition over here with one of our best friends and her 2 children. Thanks Monsons and family for bringing this tradition into our families!