I love to bake and decided last month to join the Daring Bakers’ group. Wouldn’t you know the very first challenge for me would be a Gingerbread House. I had great plans and bought all the ingredients and candy well ahead but as fate would have it, I just couldn’t find the time to make it before Christmas. It did become our Boxing Day family project though, and we had great fun making this Log Cabin Gingerbread House.
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.
The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. This’ challenge was chosen by Anna of and Y of . They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.
I decided to do a Log Cabin Gingerbread House. I adapted the design and recipe from here.
Log Cabin Gingerbread House Recipe
3/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup molasses
2 Tbsp. water
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
About 4 cups powdered sugar
In large bowl of an electric mixer, beat shortening and granulated sugar until creamy. Beat in molasses and water. In another bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Gradually add to shortening mixture, blending thoroughly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).
Remove dough from fridge and roll between two sheets of parchment paper until uniformly about 1/2 inch thick. Slide dough onto the back of a baking sheet (or any flat, thin sturdy surface) and pop it into the freezer for about 15 minutes.
While dough is chilling, prepare cardboard templates from lightweight cardboard.
Cardboard templates to make (in inches):
4 x 6″ (for the roof)
1/2″ x 2″
1/2″ x 3 1/2″
1/2″ x 6″
1/2″ x 1/2″ (for the spacers)
Remove dough from freezer and place onto a cutting board. Using the templates, lay out and cut the following pieces:
2 pieces of 4 x 6″ (for the roof)
8 pieces of 1/2″ x 2″
2 pieces of 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
17 pieces of 1/2″ x 6″
30 pieces of 1/2″ x 1/2″ (for the spacers)
Transfer cookies to lightly greased baking sheets, arranging about 1 inch apart. From remaining dough, you can cut out trees, men or other decorative details. Extra spacers can be used for chimney and stepping stones.
Bake in a 350° F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until just firm to the touch (cookies will harden as they cool). As soon as roof section is baked, lay pattern on each section and evenly trim one long edge (where the 2 sections will meet). Let cookies cool briefly on baking sheets, then transfer to racks and let cool completely. If not assembling cabin at once, package airtight; freeze if desired.
Prepare icing In a bowl by beating together 2 cups powdered sugar and 1/4 cup water until smooth. Make more as necessary. Optional: With a pastry brush, paint foil-covered foundation or cake base with icing, then sift some of the powdered sugar over icing to cover lightly. (I just used icing sugar over a cake base).
Assemble cabin as follows:
Start with a 6-inch log in back, two 2-inch logs in front. Top with 6-inch logs on sides, letting ends extend. Continue building using spacers at inner edges of 2-inch logs *(In hindsight, I should have recessed the spacers next to the front door so that I could have piped a line of icing right across the front, to the door, instead of having just small spaces to fill. I’ll do that next time!).
Fourth layer uses 6-inch logs all around. Add 3 spacers evenly across doorway; then top with 6-inch logs across front and back. Using spacers and 3-1/2 and 2 inch logs, build up gables on front and back of cabin. Place a spacer on top of each gable. Ice and sugar roof pieces, ice top logs and spacers. Set roof in place.
You can see illustrations here (http://www.celebrating-christmas.com/recipes/log-cabin.shtml).
Pipe icing in between logs and decorate as you wish with candies and icing.