Christmas is just around the corner once again. Oh boy, what a year it has been! But I am so looking forward to having a few days off and enjoying this time of the year to the maximum. And this enjoyment includes not only cooking comfort food, but also baking what I consider a great family Christmas tradition – gingerbread house. Despite having at least one more gingerbread recipe on the blog (like this one) and really loving it, I tried something different this time.
This particular gingerbread house is made using a recipe that starts just like Medovik – honey, sugar and molasses are cooked together with the spices, then baking soda and butter are added, followed by the eggs, salt and flour. The flour is incorporated gradually, making sure the dough has the right consistency. Very easy to make, but with great effect! Cooking the spices allows the flavor to develop more, so the final dough is intense, just like gingerbread should be.
In terms of spices, this time I used ginger powder, cinnamon and ground cloves, but feel free to add your favorite ones. A touch of cardamom, orange zest or star anise will definitely make a nice addition to a flavor profile that is already amazing.
Despite being easy to make, there is a step that is quite crucial and that is resting the dough. This brings a few benefits to the table: relaxed gluten strands, stiffer dough, better flavor. In fact, the final dough feels a lot like PlayDoh – that easy is to work with it!
Gingerbread houses are such a fun activity before Christmas and a great way to celebrate this beautiful time of the year!
- Gingerbread dough
165g honey of your choice
100g white sugar
2g ginger powder
2g cinnamon powder
1g star anise powder
8g baking soda
420-450g all-purpose flour
- Royal Icing
30g egg white
5g lemon juice
210g icing sugar, sifted
- Gingerbread dough
- Combine the honey, sugar and molasses in a pot and place over low heat.
- Add the spices and bring the mixture to a boil, mixing all the time.
- Stir in the baking soda, keeping on low heat still, then add the butter and mix well until melted.
- Transfer in a bowl and let it cool down until just slightly warm to the touch.
- Add the egg and mix well, then stir in the salt and flour gradually.
- Knead the dough until it has the consistency of Play-Doh then wrap it in foil and refrigerate for 6 hours minimum.
- Once the dough is chilled, take pieces of it and roll them into sheets of 3-4mm thickness. Cut your desired shapes – check out the gingerbread house template below.
- Bake the gingerbread in the preheated oven at 180C for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden and set, but still slightly soft when hot. It will dry out and harden as it cool down.
- Royal Icing
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix at high speed for 5-7 minutes or until stiff and light.
- If the icing is too stiff, add a bit of water. If it’s too thin, add more icing sugar.
- Spoon the icing in a pastry bag and decorate the walls, front, back and roof pieces you baked earlier. Use your imagination and have fun! You can also use extras, such as candied, lollipops, jellies, pretzels, sprinkles, nuts and the list can go on.
- Allow the elements to dry completely before the next step, at least 1 hour usually.
- Build the house by sticking together all the elements with the help of Royal Icing. Make sure you use enough icing. If the icing layer in this step is too thin, it will dry out excessively and fall apart.