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Gingerbread House baking Competitions popular in the United States

December 9th, 2005

Gingerbread House baking Competitions popular in the United States

A book for gingerbread house makers

Maybe they 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 eggs
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 completely overnight.

Now you are ready to make the Royal Icing to glue and decorate the gingerbread house.


 Royal Icing Recipe

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 gingerbread house. 

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.

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By Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer



Common Keywords and mispellings:  ginger bread houses how to make gingerbred house gingerbread house making recipe step by step instructions

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:46 PM