I love Christmas and all the Christmas related cooking and shopping! It’s fun, brings me always a lot of joy and makes me feel alive!
I’m going to have a small Christmas party with my friends here in Shanghai before each of us will leave to spend the holiday back home (I can’t wait).
To decorate a bit the house and give it a Xmas atmosphere I made a gingerbread house and gingerbread men yesterday! This is my first time and the result was just OK…but I have decided to blog about it anyways because you can learn from my mistakes. Or at least this is the idea
Let’s gingerbread, baby!
Ingredients (for 2 big balls of dough):
For the dough
- 3 cups flour (400 g)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 cup butter (110 g)
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar (100 g)
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cup molasses (160 ml)
For the Frosting
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 egg whites
For the house
- House models (you can draw your own or you can download some samples online)
For the men
- Gingerbread man cookie cutter
In a bowl add butter and sugar
Beat until fluffy, then add the egg.
Pour in the molasses. Mix until well combined – Note: to avoid the molasses to stick on you cup, first spray the cup with non stick vegetable spray.
Next up, add the spices. Among the ingredients I have also listed ground clove, well I didn’t have any at home so I haven’t used it…and I’ll tell you what…you can’t even tell!
Slowly add the flour and mix with an electric mixer
until you get a smooth and very soft dough
Divide the dough into two parts and wrap each piece in plastic wrap
See how sticky and soft it is
The recipe said to put the dough in the fridge for a couple of hours, I did so but it was still too soft, so I throw the 2 balls of dough for about 15-20 min in the freezer and after they had the right consistency and were easy to work with.
However, while you are working with one ball, keep the other in your refrigerator!
Floured your working surface and sprinkle some flour on top of the dough and around the rolling pan
Roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch thick circle. Place your house model on top of the dough and cut the different shapes
With a offset spatula lift the cut out shapes and place them on a baking sheet
This it the front house (or back)
This is the sides of my house (as well as the roof)
I basically draw the front house and the side house and used the front for the back house and the side for the roof as well. IT WAS WRONG!
I should have drawn a bigger rectangular for the roof…I’ll show you why in a moment
Now bake your house at 180 C for about 12- 15 min. Longer if you are going to make a bigger house.
While your house is cooking, go ahead and make the man using a gingerbread cutter to cut off the cookies
Yes, I have small gingerbread man cutter…Why? I live in China after all…people are small here…and I am small myself with my 5.3 feet…and no, don’t laugh..that would not be polite!
Bake you small/big gingerbread men in the oven at 180 for about 8 to 10 min (depending again on the size)
Let the cookies and house cool down on a wire rack!
It’s time to assemble the house now baby! And this is when you go call your bf, husband, friend, roommate or daughter to help you. You definitely need 4 hands now…even more if you want to take pictures…which Im sure you don’t, so forget about that!
Here come the hard part!
The recipe said to stick the different parts of the house using the frosting, well…it didn’t work for me!
The recipe also said to use 2 cups of powdered sugar and 2 egg white. I did and the frosting I got was way too liquid and pourable. See
I added 2 more cups and I finally got the right consistency!
But still the house wasn’t really sticking together…or better say, it would have if I had the patience to wait holding the pieces together for a couple of minutes. But patience is not one of my quality…I opted for using glue…
well…let me tell you something…It worked fantastic and at the end of the day no one is ever going to eat my gingerbread house! But yeah, if you have kids that might grab and eat a piece of the house when you are not looking..using glue might not be a good idea…
Now you can see why before I was saying that cutting the roof the same size of the sides was a mistake. You want the edges of the roof to stick out a bit
Said that now go ahead and decorate your house. This is the fun part! Just give free space to your imagination and creativity. Use anything you have or anything you want.
I used chocolate finger cookies and smarties to make the door
I broke in half 2 finger cookies for the window
and then I decorated the roof
Then I spread some frosting on top of the roof and around the edges of the house, to resemble snow
and my bf insisted for adding two sugar candies on the back of the house
Then I spread the remaining frosting all around the house (as snow)
and placed 2 gingerbread men on the side of my house entrance…
the one of the left is me…can you tell?
ok, well folks this is my first gingerbread house and I cannot lecture you on how to make a proper one. All I can tell you is to try, have fun with it and be happy with the result you get!