COMING HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS:GINGERBREAD HOUSE WITH DARING BAKERS

“And I had but one penny in the world. Thou should’st have it to buy gingerbread.
William Shakespeare, Love’s Labours Lost
HO HO HO… Come home to the Daring Bakers, to a wonderful, fragrant, sweet smelling holiday home.
This month we open the doors and hearts of our beautiful gingerbread homes to you.
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.
Making the gingerbread house was fun, scary most of the way, and full of ‘challenge‘! I used Y’s Scandinavian recipe from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book, a Beatrice Ojakangas’ recipe, because I had all the ingredients on hand and it sounded simple enough. As Y said, if you’re using this recipe, please be aware that in general, gingerbread for houses are usually designed less for taste and more for it’s ability to be sturdy and long lasting.
Something I would have never dreamt of making otherwise, though I longingly look at pictures in books and magazines…and blogs of course! It’s amazing the sort of energy that grabs you when push comes to shove, and you know you have to do ‘it’. In this case, I had to, and more importantly ‘wanted to make this too.

The dough was not easy to manage. Kneading that huge amount of dough by hand took me forever and left me gasping for breath. In hindsight, I should have halved the portions as I still have some leftover in the fridge. That is also because I dreamt of making this huge castle, turret towers and the works. Thereafter, began looking at designs and dimensions, panicked big time, and downsized my dreams. Fell back to reality with a mighty thud and ended up with a rustic little cottage.

That was the time I began talking to Y on twitter about my dough and very abstract pattern. A few tweets later I felt much better and confident once again. She patiently talked me through the dough, my cracked walls etc. Yes, a few folk had trouble with their dough not being moist enough etc. I think that is largely due to the different types of flour available across the globe. I used slightly less flour (850gms), and yet my dough was dry, so I added some more water. I got a very firm dough, which was far too firm to roll out easily once chilled, so I ran it in the microwave for 20 seconds before using it. Worked fine. I didn’t suffer any shrinkage, though the cracks were there.

I scaled down a template I found online, and roughly drew sketches on a scrap of paper. Very abstract (cause of my panic), and in the end, very lucky. Had an impressed DH in the end who said I did a good job with the measurements.

I piped on royal icing in abstract patterns before finally gluing the house together. We don’t have beautiful Christmas candy, peppermint sticks etc available here like the West does, so I stuck to basics that I could do on my own. Made cookie dough snowflakes from a set on snowflake plunger cutters that Nic @ Cherrapeno got for me when I met her in London for the Food Blogger Connect a couple of weeks ago. They are lovely! Thanks a ton Nicole!

Putting the house together wasn’t a one man job for me. I engaged the services of the engineer on hand, and DH and me built together our sweet little house, patiently and with much fun. It’s a great family project and was a first ‘building a baked home’ for me. We were slightly under confident of the sugar glue, but woot, never seen firmer and more effective quick edible superglue than this!

In the end we were pretty pleased with our Gingerbread home. I wish I had put it on a better base but it was too late to change that. Once done the hub decided that it was definitely missing a chimney, so I set to make one sawing off extra bits of biscuit I had baked, and voila, there it was! The cookie dough was quite delicious too.

Thank you Y and Anna for an enriching, challenging and engaging project for December. We loved building our home again, and the kids cannot wait to have a chomp at it.

Scandinavian Gingerbread House (Pepparkakstuga)
from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas
Y’s Recipe
(Half recipe would work fine for a small house. I got a lot of left over dough)
1 cup butter, room temperature [226g]
1 cup brown sugar, well packed [220g]
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.

Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.

[I rolled out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick (which allows for fact that the dough puffs a little when baked), cut required shapes and transferred these to the baking sheet. Any scraps I saved and rerolled at the end.]

Preheat the oven to 375’F (190’C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm.

After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Royal Icing:
(I made half this portion)
1 large egg white
3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract

Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren’t using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.

Simple Syrup:
(I made half this portion)
2 cups (400g) sugar

Place in a small saucepan and heat until just boiling and the sugar dissolves. Dredge or brush the edges of the pieces to glue them together. If the syrup crystallizes, remake it.
Thank you for stopping by

Thank you Lis and Ivonne for holding this wonderful group of daring baker types of people together! Make sure you head over to other Daring Bakers homes HERE, and knock on their doors this Christmas.

There is some amazing jaw-dropping talent out there!
Don’t miss a post

Passionate About Baking has been nominated at ‘The Homies 2009′ in the Home Cooking category at ‘The Kitchen‘. If you like, you can vote HERE!

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Comments

  1. Angry Asian says:

    leave it to you to have the cutest ever gingerbread house!

  2. Julie @ Willow Bird Baking says:

    Sweet and elegant at the same time! Love it, Deeba!!

  3. Madhuli says:

    Absolutely awesome….got the snowflakes plunger set for myself..now i know where to use it!

  4. toontz says:

    Beautiful job, Deeba!

  5. Dharm says:

    I panciked when I saw your post!! I just finished mine but havent done the right up… didnt realise we could post from 23-27!! Phew!
    Your House looks just STUNNING!! Mine pales in comparison…
    Have a great Christmas and sending much love your way!

  6. purplehomes says:

    Wow…its the cutest house i have ever seen…beautiful! Could you please tell me names of some good stores at Delhi/ Ggn that keep bakery supplies, raw material, molds, et al.

  7. Chow and Chatter says:

    wow awesome now if yu do heena the painting on this would be easy for you!!

    love your blog so happy I came across it

    Rebecca

  8. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Your house is superb! isn't the posting date the 27th?

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  9. Nachiketa says:

    My virtual address should be at ure ginger bread house…. which even has a chimney…. it's so adorable…. love the way it lights up…..

    What I love even more is how the household comes together to do stuff… :-)

  10. glamah16 says:

    Lucky you had an engineer hubby to help You did a fantastic job!

  11. Such a lovely home..Engineers help is appreciated.
    Night effect looks Great!

  12. zurin says:

    lovely…i like the cracked effect. at first glance I thought it was deliberate…it looks beautiful!

  13. that's gorgeous! especially love the "fence-y" backdrop! Merry xmas Deeba!

  14. Sarah, Maison Cupcake says:

    Deeba, this looks wonderful! Gingerbread houses are so pretty and I wish I'd signed up to Daring Bakers a month earlier so I could have done this challenge, whoever picked it, it was an inspired choice. I cannot wait to see all the others. I start my DB journey with whatever gets announced on Dec 27.

    I must ask Nic where she got her snowflake cutter from, I noticed Mowie had used some in his pink iced cookies last week. I love how you've done a montage of houses in a row, it looks like a little village. Happy Christmas!

  15. Jamie says:

    Oh, Deeba, it is just beautiful and romantic! I love the piped decorations and the fun gingerbread men. Gorgeous work and thanks for all the tips! I love it! And lucky you for having DH help!

  16. Mowie @ Mowielicious says:

    Oh WOW Deeba! How gorgeous – I really love it. Especially the picture in the dark with the candle inside – so nice. Also love that snowflake cookie cutter – perfect!

    I'd thought of making a gingerbread house myself this Christmas, but knew that with all the cookies I was going to be baking, it would be an impossible task. Can't wait to see all the other DB's.

  17. Wow Deeba, That's a beautiful house! ! N the snowflake cutter is so cute! I'm sure a lot of hardwork went into all this! Great job!

  18. Twinsy Rachel says:

    awesome work deeba…… indeed a daring baker.. nice to hear that the aircraft engineer helped in engineering gingerbread house..Good team work :) Snowflake cutter, wow!!!!! Season's greetings n Enjoy
    twinsy

  19. Bellini Valli says:

    We hope your Christmas is filled with joy, laughter and many kitchen successes in the New Year.Such a fun project, and it turned out beautifully Deeba.

  20. MeetaK says:

    love it deeba! it looks elegant and so fantastic. great job my sweet friend!

  21. Natashya Kitchen Puppies says:

    That is AMAZING! I am packing my bags and preparing to move in. :)

  22. Absolutely stunning Deeba! I really believe less is more when it comes to Gingerbread houses. Great work. Happy Holidays :)

  23. deeba, this DB challenge sure IS a challenge and blimey, have you pretty much breezed through it as I can see from the photographs. beautiful! and such a gorgeous piece of work. u're talented! Happy Christmas darling. x

  24. La Table De Nana says:

    So so cute!!!

  25. I love this house! I especially like the picture where you light the house up. So gorgeous! Let me know when move in date is!

    Merry Christmas!

  26. Cirri says:

    Very cute and elegant! Merry christmas!

  27. Lauren says:

    Fantastic Deeba! I love the house and everything about it! Your cutouts are just precious =D.

  28. Winnie says:

    You did a wonderful job on this- your gingerbread house is absolutely gorgeous. I love every single detail!

  29. Nithya Praveen says:

    Cutest Gingerbread house i have ever seen:).Looks wonderful Deeba.I am yet to post mine,it surely was a great challenge.You Have a fantastic blog out here….i loved reading each n every post of urs.You rock!

  30. tonic says:

    Gorgeous!! I love it illuminated, and the snowflakes are perfect!

  31. kellypea says:

    Spectacular photos! I love the series that make it appear as if you have an entire village. Truly wonderful. The design on the roof is lovely, and the heart shapes cut into the gingerbread men so quaint. Lucky you to have some help :) If I'm lucky, I'll get to do this next week when all the hustle bustle is done. Thanks for the inspiration.

  32. Junglefrog says:

    O my god Deeba, that is such an amazing looking gingerbread house you made!! I love it! I also love the decorations you made; to be honest that beats my lame candy…lol… I should have know the microwave tip before I started rolling (smashing) down the dough…

  33. Little Miss Cupcake says:

    wow! that is an awesome house! i love the pic where it is lit from the inside and i am dying for a set of those snowflake cutters – they add such a pretty detail. bravo! happy holidays! x Cat

  34. Anushruti says:

    Its amazing how you keep your wonderful posts coming one after the other! This looks like a wonderful labour of love with a lot of efforts thrown in.

  35. Marvelous! I especially love those cute snowflakes and the fence backdrop – brilliant job! we have the ready to assemble kits here, but even those can be daunting – and you guys did it from scratch! Bravo!

  36. Jeanne says:

    Beatiful! I love the simple color scheme and the snowflakes. It looks so warm and cozy when lit up!

  37. Kitchen Butterfly says:

    Fantastic assembly and photos….I've never made a gingerbread house in my life. My daughters musn't see this or I will be plagued with when can we…..

  38. Jenny says:

    Great work! I love your piping and your snowflakes.

  39. Cakelaw says:

    Your house is gorgoeus Deeba – the little people are a nice touch.

    I also found the dough tough to knead – and almost impossible to roll out after chilling.

    Merry Xmas to you and your family.

  40. You have the ability to make everything look the best. Prettiest one.

    Happy Holidays & Happy New year to you and your loved ones.

  41. Barbara Bakes says:

    Even your rustic house is elegant! How fun that hubs helped create it!

  42. Awesome house Deeba !! I myself chickened out :(
    maybe next time..yours is certainly inspiring..

  43. Alexa says:

    How magical! Very well done Deeba!

  44. Sophie says:

    Ooooh Deeba,

    You did an amazing & fantastic job!! Waw!!

    The house looks to lovely to eat,…but it must taste awesomely delicious!!

    MMMMMMMMMMM,….all the way!

  45. Natalie... says:

    Wow your gingerbread house is amazingly pretty!! Great job on it!! You should be proud.
    Merry Christmas :)

  46. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Just beautiful Deeba! I knew it would be though, it's impossible for you to not do beautiful work! :D Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! xxx

  47. Peter M says:

    My, aren't you crafty…a gingerbread house – compleete with utilities and lighting!

  48. Gera @ SweetsFoods says:

    What a wonderful and magnificent creation!! A masterpiece :)

    Merry Christmas and a Fantastic New Year 2010 for You!!

    Cheers,

    Gera

  49. zurin says:

    Deeba, I would just like to tell you that I had made a cake and decorated it with your famous scroll design and have blogged about it.Ive linked you. Just want to say thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas!

  50. Parita says:

    Wow Deeba ginger bread house looks fabulous!! So creative!!

  51. Gloria says:

    Dear Deeba, amazing gingerbread house look absolutely beauty and delicious!! Dear I want whish you a very happy Christmas with a really lovely New Years, I send you a big hug and kisses!! Love ya. Gloria

  52. Rajani says:

    deeba its turned out beautiful. a very merry christmas to you. love the snowflake cookie cutter!

  53. Heavenly Housewife says:

    Wow, that is so cool. Imagine if i could shrink myself and eat my way out of it. :D
    Happy holidays daaaaaaaahling
    *kisses* HH

  54. Helene says:

    This is such a beautiful house Deeba. Happy Holidays!

  55. Trissa says:

    Gorgeous gingerbread house Deeba! I really like how you lit it up! Happy Holidays!

  56. farida says:

    wow, wow, wow! This is one of the most beautiful gingerbread houses I've ever seen! So professionally done. I skipped this month's challenge. It scared me to death:) Happy Holidays, Deeba!

  57. chef_d says:

    Wow, this has to be one of the prettiest gingerbread houses I have seen so far! Congratulations!

  58. Wow, you have fences. Fences! And your house has 'electricity'. Daaaamn! :) Sorry you had a bit of a struggle with the dough. I think the total weight of flour should've been less, but it didn't occur to me when I tested the recipe, that it might not be right, as I strangely enough had no problems with it at all! x

  59. Cynthia says:

    Happy Holidays to you and the family. I have so enjoyed your outstanding work over the years and look forward to more!

    Tight hugs.

  60. Karen @ Citrus and Candy says:

    Beautiful houses! And I love the smiles on the gingerbread men!

  61. Love the snow flake cutters, too bad I didn't know that you're in London, wecould have met too, well … maybe next time. Happy Holiday to you and your family :)

  62. meeso says:

    Awwwww, so cute! Happy Holidays!

  63. Deeba, your gingerbread house is just beautiful. I love all the details! One of the prettiest I've ever seen. Merry Christmas!

  64. Baking Soda says:

    I can so relate to the scary part of building a gingerbread house, yours came out lovely and elegant!
    Have a wonderful Christmas,

  65. Nicisme says:

    That's awesome Deeba! What a lot of patience you have, and the snowflakes look brilliant.
    Happy Christmas to you and all the family. Hope you had a wonderful day!

  66. I love all the cute shapes and cut-outs on your house–so festive!! :)
    Merry Christmas!

  67. Love your gingerbread house Deeba! :) The picture with the candle inside the house is beautiful and I really like the snowflakes, so cute!

  68. Merry Christmas and Happy new Year! Much joy and sweetness to you and your family Deeba!

    Stupendous Deeba!.
    Now I wonder whether I should post my disastrous gingerbread house.

  69. Definitely the house we daring bakers deserve!!

  70. Donna-FFW says:

    What a darling gingerbread house! I LOVE it! Happy, happy holidays to you!

  71. Katrina says:

    What a beautiful gingerbread house! Love that it looks so simple (without tons of candy everywhere), but also looks great!

  72. Madame Sucre says:

    My My My!!! what a creation you have made! .. You may as well be an architect Deeba!

  73. Simply gorgeous and I love the house with the lights on. It is so romantic.

  74. Natalie, aka "Sheltie Girl" says:

    Fabulous job on your house! I love your white icing work.

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  75. RJ Flamingo says:

    I think you did an awesome job! Your little cottage is adorable!

  76. theUngourmet says:

    Wow! Good for you for taking on this challenge and not giving up. I love all of the detail and the snowflakes are especially pretty!

    Hope you had a nice holiday!

  77. Your house is sooo cute Deeba! I really love the cut-outs, and all that pretty icing. I don't know if even a castle would have been more magnificent!

  78. Cathy @ ShowFoodChef says:

    I always enjoy your spirit and talents and your G-House is wonderful! I love those cutter shapes and your designs are really striking. It was my first Gingerbread House and I really enjoyed it, too!

  79. Aparna says:

    Love, love your house, Deeba. Can see your scrolling's there too. Those snowflakes are so pretty too.
    Yes, it was fun wasn't it?

    Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a very Happy New Year!

  80. peasepudding says:

    Gorgeous Deeba, love all the detail work on your gingerbread house.

  81. Laura says:

    I am so glad you were "pushed" into making this month's project because you did an amazing job. Your house is beautiful, I love the simplicity of the decorations, and the snowflakes.

    I am going out shortly to get some powder sugar to finish my creation.

    Cheers from Venice.

  82. Su-yin @ Bread et Butter says:

    I think you did a fantastic job on the house – and using only royal icing as well! I love the snowflakes as well, makes it even more festive. :)

  83. Sue Sparks says:

    I LOVE your house! It's beautiful, and I love it in the darkness all lit up! So pretty! The snowflakes are such a nice touch!

  84. Gorgeous house! I love all of the detail in the piped frosting and the cut outs are just darling!

  85. silverrock says:

    Awww… your gingerbread house looks too cute to eat. Way to go on this month's challenge, you owned it! Hope you have more amazing bakes in the New Year!

  86. Angela @ A Spoonful of Sugar says:

    What a beautiful house, Deeba! It's so pretty all lit up at night. Congratulations on an amazing challenge this month, and best wishes for the New Year!!

  87. Yasmeen says:

    Beautiful masterpiece,Deeba :D

  88. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    Deeba, your house is ADORABLE!

  89. Jenny Tan says:

    What a lovely gingerbread house! Happy 2010! :)

  90. Deeba, gorgeous house and spectacular piping! I can't pipe a squiggle, much less a straight line without a mess..LOL have a Happy New Year!

  91. Susan/Wild Yeast says:

    Wow, Deeba, this is so beautifully done! Happy New Year!

  92. Jeanne says:

    That's too adorable – I can almost smell the spices! And as always, your attention to detail leaves me speechless…

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