Saturday, December 7, 2013
There are two kinds of Gingerbread used for building houses - Regular edible dough and "Construction Grade" gingerbread. Regular dough is used for smaller houses and children's houses. It tastes like gingerbread cookies, but is a bit sturdier. It is easy to roll out and work with. Construction grade gingerbread dough is technically edible, but you'd break a tooth if you tried to eat it. This dough is better for larger houses and competition houses. It is a little tougher to work with and roll out, but it comes out hard as a rock so your pieces will not warp on large houses.
Most construction grade gingerbread recipes are actually not true gingerbread. This is because true gingerbread contains molasses, which retains moisture. When you are building a large house for a competition, moisture is your enemy. Most construction grade gingerbread recipes contain honey or corn syrup in place of the molasses, and even that is used in much smaller amounts. If you are building a large house or live in an area prone to humidity, try this recipe for Construction Grade Gingerbread dough from the fabulous website Gingerbread Exchange.
For children's houses and most small houses, I highly recommend this recipe:
Tasty Edible Gingerbread dough:
This is a recipe that I modified only slightly from the Better Homes and Gardens "Cookies for Christmas" book (1985). This is a great overall cookie book, by the way.
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
(optional: 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves)
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl, stirring to blend well.
In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the molasses and egg, then gradually add the dry ingredients. Chill dough for about an hour before rolling out.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Roll dough about 1/4" thick and cut out using a pattern (you can buy a premade pattern online or make your own. Some stores even sell cookie cutters for the walls and roof.)
Bake on a foil or parchment-lined cookie sheet about 15 minutes until done.
Cool completely before assembling. For tips about assembling and decorating your house, see my post Gingerbread House Tips and Ideas
Posted by Christa Dunn