Saturday, January 3, 2009

Recipe Monday

This is the finished Gingerbread House I promised to post along with the recipe, I've tried a bunch of recipes and this one was the best, good for building and it tasted good. It was so much easier then you would think. I will never buy a kit again!

How to Make a Gingerbread House

6 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup dark molasses
1 Tbsp water

Make the Gingerbread Dough

1 Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside.

2 Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed the butter and brown sugar until fluffy and well blended. Beat in the eggs, molasses and water until well combined.

3 Beat half of the flour mixture into the molasses mixture until well blended and smooth. Stir in the remaining flour. Knead (or use your mixer's dough hook) until well blended. If dough is too soft, add a little more flour.

4 Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours, preferably overnight. You can make it up to 3 days ahead of time. Let sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before rolling out. We waited 3 days, I don't know if thats why it worked so well.
Roof 2 pcs 6 1/2 x 7
Side 2 pcs 3 x 5
Fr & BK 5 1/2 across side 3" high then to the 7" pt at center
full square should be 5 1/2 x 7
otherwise, here is the link GingerBread House

Make the Gingerbread House Pieces

1 Preheat oven to 350°F, with the oven rack in the middle. Have several flat cookie sheets ready, preferably ones that you know will not warp in the oven heat.

2 Divide the dough in two. Spread parchment paper or wax paper on a large flat surface for rolling. Dust the paper lightly with flour. Working with one portion of the dough at a time, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to an even thickness of 1/4-inch. Add a little flour to the surface of the dough, and check for sticking as you roll it out. If it sticks to either your rolling pin or the rolling surface, dust with more flour. If the rolled out dough is very soft, you may want to freeze it for an hour before cutting out the patterns.

3 Rub a little flour over the surface of the dough. Place the pattern pieces on the dough, as many pattern pieces as will fit on the dough. Use a small sharp knife to cut out the pattern pieces from the dough, wiping the knife surface clean frequently. Depending on how soft the dough is, you may need to use scissors to cut the wax paper or parchment paper. You can cut out the patterns through the dough and parchment paper, placing the dough pieces with the paper directly on the cookie sheets. If you are not using parchment paper or wax paper, you may need to use a large metal spatula to transfer the dough pieces to a greased cookie sheet. Space the pieces on the cookie sheet an inch apart from each other. If dough pieces stretch during the transfer process, push them back into shape.

You can cut out a door and window(s) at this point, or you can wait until after baking, soon after the pieces have come out of the oven while the cookies are still warm.

4 Bake in a 350°F oven until the edges are just beginning to darken, 11-15 minutes for the large pieces, 6-8 minutes for the small pieces. Rotate the cookie sheets half way through the baking for more even browning. Remove the sheets to racks to cool, about 15 minutes.

While the pieces are still slightly warm, lay the pattern pieces over them and use a large straight chef's knife to trim off any parts of the pieces that have through cooking spread beyond the pattern.

Remove pieces to cool directly on racks to cool completely

You can use any royal icing recipe to "glue" the house together, one trick is put icing on one part to be glued let it sit a few minutes then put the other piece on.
The icing should be thick not runny. My basic recipe is 1 box conf. sugar, 1/8 cup water 2 tablespoons meringue pwder. Beat at low speed 30 sec, then at very high speed about 8-10 minutes. Its ready when peaks form. You can play with the water msmt depending on the consistancy you want.
This gingerbread recipe was enough for 1 house and about 15 men!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Fingerprint Friday

Happy New Year 2009!! I am just getting back into the swing of things. My first post for 2009 will be for Pampering Beckie's Fingerprint Friday. Although this photo isn't so good, the memories that will go with it are. Being its just my daughter and me, I try extra hard to create memories for her. Every year at Christmas time, Bryant Park turns itself into a winter wonderland, there are Christmas shops and cider and an iceskating rink with Christmas music. I usually take her and her friends. Its one of our favorite things to do during the holiday season. So Christmas isn't in the things it's in the doing and sharing and being. If anyone out there ever plans a trip to NYC, contact me! There are so many things people don't know about like this. Everyone rushes to Rockerfeller Center when these little secrets are so much nicer. This is becoming a tradition for us and this season I find God in the memories I have made! Skating in NY under a beautiful sky, listing to Bing and surrounded by the city.

There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says:
I can see the fingerprints of god
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of god
And I know its true
Youre a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of god
To join in go to Pampering Beckie