PLANET GARDEN: Eco-Friendly Resource Guide

Planet Garden Gingerbread Love

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on December 17, 2009

It takes love to make a home and baking a Gingerbread House requires the same devotion. Only with love and care can you prepare the gingery dough and bake the walls to create a small house that brings delight to all ages.
We were so fortunate last Saturday to enjoy the Gingerbread Workshop of local author and illustrator, lovely Linda Hayward. Linda is also a Gingerbread Artisan and she showed us many of her tricks and secrets to the perfect little gingerbread cottage made with love for your family and friends.
To get a good start my advice is use a tried and true recipe for Gingerbread Houses and Royal Icing. Here is the one that Linda uses successfully to bake these little houses of love. Watch and learn Linda’s Gingerbread House Tips and how-to secrets online at http://bit.ly/GingerbreadCottage  and http://bit.ly/Gingerbreadhouse .
 
Ingredients

  ~ Gingerbread for Houses
  5 and ½ cups all purpose flour
  1 t. baking soda
  1 t. salt
  2 t. ginger
  2 t. cinnamon
  1 t. nutmeg
  1 t. cloves
  1 cup shortening
  1 cup sugar
  cups unsulphured molasses
  2 eggs, beaten
  ~ Royal Icing
  3 level T. Wilton Meringue Powder Mix
  4 cups sifted confectioners sugar (approx 1 lb)
  6 Tbsp. water (less for stiffer icing)

Steps
This content is online at http://www.culinate.com  in the Bluebird Market Recipe Box Collection.
Gingerbread….Thoroughly mix flour, soda, salt and spices.
Melt shortening in large saucepan over low heat until just melted, not hot. Add in order…sugar, molasses and eggs. Mix well. Cool slightly, then add 4 cups dry ingredients and mix well.
Turn mixture onto lightly floured surface. Knead in remaining dry ingredients by hand. Add a little more flour, if necessary, to make a firm dough.
If you’re not going to make your gingerbread house right away, wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate. Refrigerated dough will keep for 1 week. Be sure to remove it 3 hours prior to rolling so it softens and is workable. You will need 1 recipe of this gingerbread dough to make a Gingerbread House.
After cutting out house, wrap any remaining gingerbread dough in plastic. This extra dough can be used in case of a house crack or to add shutters or other decorative gingerbread to house. Icing can also repair small cracks.
Royal Icing…..Because it dries candy hard and lasts for weeks without softening, this icing is ideal to secure your gingerbread house pieces and decorations.
Before you make icing be certain your utensils and bowl are grease free. Keep icing covered with damp cloth because it dries quickly.
Beat all ingredients at low speed for 7 to 10 minutes until icing forms peaks. This icing can be stored in an airtight container and re-whipped before using. Yield is 3 cups. To give icing decorations a shiny snow effect, add 1 T. corn syrup per 1 cup of royal icing.
For painting a complete wall of your house, thin icing with coloring or water. Pour over gingerbread piece that is placed on a wire rack over a drip pan. Pour evenly to coat and let dry.
Explore with us each week to discover simple ways we can affordably contribute to sustainable and renewable eco-friendly living. Find resources online at www.yougottabekidding.org and http://www.bluebirdmarket.com. Email EE questions to: planetgarden@live.com.