baking Competitions popular in the United States
December 9th, 2005
A book for
gingerbread house makers
will have to add cooking competitions to the Winter Olympics. You
will find gingerbread competitions across the US this holiday season
and you might be inspired to try making one this year.
On Food Network they broadcasted
last night one of many gingerbread competitions. The gingerbread
houses on the show were terrific. I was amazed at how detailed
these gingerbread houses are. Even kids are getting into the
competitions in a child category. One lady on the show said that
she put in over 400 hours working on her gingerbread creation.
These are works of art that really would make anyone amazed.
How do you make the gingerbread
house? Here is a standard recipe that is for the dough you can mix
up roll out and cut up yourself. Another great idea for the baking
impaired is to build a house using graham crackers and buy the royal
icing to put it together. The following recipe is the popular royal
icing “glue” recipe to hold your creation together. You will need
to stock up on all that candy to sprinkle on and around your house,
and make sure to have fun creating. Plan your house walls
accordingly and it is better to make your roof hang over so it will
sit on the house walls without coming up short.
Gingerbread Dough Recipe
1-¾ cup brown sugar
1-¼ cup white sugar
1 cup butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons molasses
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon allspice
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
You will make the dough and
refrigerate the dough before rolling out and baking. So you will
prep your dough first, then you will get your cookie sheets ready
and preheat the oven while you are getting your dough rolled out.
Preheat oven to 325F degrees
when you start rolling out your dough.
Before doing any cooking get
your pattern ready. Cut out paper templates of your house or have
the measurement already figured out and have a ruler to measure the
lines. It would be better to work out the house on wax paper so
that you can get the dough cut and moved quickly with fewer errors.
Get a couple of your cookie
sheets ready by lining them. If you have the Silpat liners, this is
the occasion to get them out, or you can use oven safe parchment
paper, or aluminum foil to line the bottom of the cookie sheet. You
will need to butter and flour the aluminum foil. Pam spray has new
flour and cooking oil spray combo that you can do in one step.
You will need a large bowl to
mix. A stand mixer would work. Measure the butter and both the
brown and white sugar and cream together. After the butter is
incorporated into the sugar, beat in the molasses and eggs.
You will get another big bowl
out to measure the dry ingredients. Measure the flour, baking soda,
allspice, ginger and cinnamon and sift if you have the time. But
stir the dry mixture up well before adding the butter egg mixture.
Mix all together the dry and wet until you can stir any more. Then
proceed to knead dough until is is a smooth ball. You need to put
in the bowl, cover and refrigerate for at the least 30 minutes, more
time would be good.
Once the dough is chilled, you
take out and roll on a well floured surface. The dough should be ¼
inch thick. You will take the pattern wax paper pieces and put on
the dough as a cutting template. Cut out the shapes one at a time.
Take care in moving the large pieces from the roll out area to your
cookie sheet. You might want to use a spatula, or a pastry knife to
help move it over.
You will have leftover scraps
you can recycle, or make shingles, or window trim with. Possibly
some gingerbread people for your house would be nice.
It takes 15 to 20 minutes to
bake in the oven check to see that the dough is slightly firm. Move
the whole liner off with the cookie pieces onto the cooling rack.
Let cool on racks and don’t move from the racks until they firm up.
Peel the liner off the cookie pieces and set aside to dry
Now you are ready to make the
Royal Icing to glue and decorate the gingerbread house.
5 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 cup water plus or minus a little
1 pound confectioners' sugar
Beat all ingredients on low
speed with electric mixer until fluffy for 7 to 8 minutes. Add more
water to achieve the consistency that you want to work with if you
are using liquid food coloring you should add this in the equation
at the time as it will change the consistency of the icing. Stiffer
icing will be better for holding together the house, where the
thinner icing will be better for going through the piping bags for
the fine details.
It is lots of fun to get the
kids involved with adding the candy decorations at this point. If
you have a sturdy board of double reinforced cardboard sheet that
you wrap with aluminum foil you will be able to eat the house.
Never eat a house that you use hot glue on as this is just not safe.
If you don’t want to do all the
baking you can purchase gingerbread making kits with the cookies
shapes of the house already baked with only the assembly needed and
candy included. Craft stores usually stock the kits every holiday;
you might find them at the grocery store too.
If you don’t like making your
own creation buy one ready made. You can buy small mass made ones or
you can go all out and get a custom made gingerbread house. There
are many custom bakeries that will make you your very own custom
If you get your baking skills up
to par maybe next year you too can enter one of many gingerbread
house competitions in your state.
Best Syndication Staff Writer
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