Friday, December 12, 2008

Time to Build a little Village

Or at the very least, a house...

I'm so excited to have time, energy and ingredients to build a gingerbread house this weekend.

Isn't that marvelous!? I just love the simplicity and cuteness.

As I was double checking what I'll need I thought I'd compile a list in case anyone else is searching.

Here's a photo gallery for inspiration.
And here's a step by step guide for building these mini cottages.

A royal icing recipe (so you can stick it all together):


* 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
* 4 1/2 teaspoons meringue powder*
* 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
* 1/4 cup warm water
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


In a large bowl, stir together powdered sugar, meringue powder, and cream of tartar. Add warm water and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Beat on high speed for 7 to 10 minutes or until mixture is very stiff. Makes about 2-1/2 cups icing.

*Test Kitchen Tip: Meringue powder is a mixture of pasteurized dried egg whites, sugar, and edible gums. Look for it in the baking aisle of your supermarket or at a specialty food store.

In case you need more inspiration, here's another beautiful gallery.

Gingerbread recipe:


* 1 cup shortening
* 1 cup sugar
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 2 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 cup molasses
* 2 eggs
* 2 tablespoons vinegar
* 5 cups all-purpose flour
* 6 16x12-inch pieces parchment paper
* Purchased canned white frostings
* Assorted purchased candies


1. In a very large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves. Beat until combined, scraping bowl.

2. Beat in molasses, eggs, and vinegar until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with mixer. Stir in remaining flour. Divide dough in thirds. Cover; chill 3 hours.

3. Cut a 16x12-inch piece parchment paper in half crosswise. Place one of parchment halves on pastry cloth. Sprinkle parchment with flour.

4. Divide each piece of dough in half (you should have six). Place one piece of dough on parchment; roll to 1/8-inch thick. Using 8x5-1/2-inch cutter, cut into shape. Remove scraps; set aside. Lift dough and parchment; place on cookie sheet.

5. Bake in 375 degree F oven 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are browned. Slide cookie and parchment onto rack. Cool. Repeat with remaining dough and parchment, gathering cookie scraps together and rerolling.

6. When cool enough to handle, peel cookies from parchment paper. Decorate using frosting to attach candies. Makes 12 cookies.

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