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.
This was and will always be my favorite challenge ever! No challenge could deliver the cadence this challenge had it took me into a gingerbread zen mode and I came out like a bear 3 days later grumpy and full on candy. This particular bear waited until Dec 22nd to start because I felt the need to put the DARING into baker and it had nothing to do with my lack of organization hehe.
The reason this is called Gingerbread Cadillac House is because my sister Alex said to my dad "That house is pretty cool" and he said "Cool?, It is the Cadillac of gingerbread houses" Dad's have a way with words.
I used a template and then honed in on some math skills I haven't used in 10 years to scale the house up a couple sizes and to my amazement my math was pretty good. I did however have a lot of problems with Anna's gingerbread recipe it was so dry I think it depends where you live? I didn't add the last two cups of flour because if I did it would have been crumbly mess I had to add more cream and I kneaded it until I liked the way it felt and then it was so easy to work with at that point so if you decide to use this recipe I recommend going with what feels right in your hands sort of like a stiff playdoh. I would also suggest letting your dough rest for one or two days before you make your house I did this and while it is a work out to roll I got really smooth surfaces with minimal shrinkage.
I used coconut for "snow" and I forgot to bake the lifesavers bits in the windows and made some afterthought frames and filled them and baked them that way. The roof is close to 8 pounds of Nibs it was so heavy it was ridiculous but it looks great. I cant wait to make another one next year.
Spicy Gingerbread Dough (from Good Housekeeping) http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefinder/spicy-gingerbread-dough-157...
2 1/2 cups (500g) packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (360mL) heavy cream or whipping cream
1 1/4 cups (425g) molasses
9 1/2 cups (1663g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon(s) baking soda
1 tablespoon(s) ground ginger
1. In very large bowl, with wire whisk (or with an electric mixer), beat brown sugar, cream, and molasses until sugar lumps dissolve and mixture is smooth. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and ginger. With spoon, stir flour mixture into cream mixture in 3 additions until dough is too stiff to stir, then knead with hands until flour is incorporated and dough is smooth.
2. Divide dough into 4 equal portions; flatten each into a disk to speed chilling. Wrap each disk well with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until dough is firm enough to roll.
3. Grease and flour large cookie sheets (17-inch by 14-inch/43x36cm)
4. Roll out dough, 1 disk at a time on each cookie sheet to about 3/16-inch thickness. (Placing 3/16-inch dowels or rulers on either side of dough to use as a guide will help roll dough to uniform thickness.)
5. Trim excess dough from cookie sheet; wrap and reserve in refrigerator. Chill rolled dough on cookie sheet in refrigerator or freezer at least 10 minutes or until firm enough to cut easily.
6. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (149C)
7. Use chilled rolled dough, floured poster board patterns, and sharp paring knife to cut all house pieces on cookie sheet, making sure to leave at least 1 1/4 inches between pieces because dough will expand slightly during baking. Wrap and reserve trimmings in refrigerator. Combine and use trimmings as necessary to complete house and other decorative pieces. Cut and bake large pieces and small pieces separately.
8. Chill for 10 minutes before baking if the dough seems really soft after you cut it. This will discourage too much spreading/warping of the shapes you cut.
9. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until pieces are firm to the touch. Do not overbake; pieces will be too crisp to trim to
10. Remove cookie sheet from oven. While house pieces are still warm, place poster-board patterns on top and use them as guides to trim shapes to match if necessary. Cool pieces completely before attempting to assemble the house. proper size.
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.