Have you always wanted to make gingerbread from scratch? Well, here is your chance. It seems to be a tradition among the more determined and jubilant during the holidays. You can comb the internet and find endless pages of pictures of pristine gingerbread estates. Beautiful palatial three storey brownstones lovingly and painstakingly constructed by FOOD stylists. In all my attempts to make a gingerbread house with my children we have produced nothing but half eaten gingerbread pup-tents. Making a conventional gingerbread requires an engineering genius and the patience of a saint… two things this writer just do not possess. So I decided to make Gingerbread lego.
1 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light molasses or dark corn syrup
2 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
24 tablespoons water
Preheat oven to 375o.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and baking soda together until the mixture is smooth.
Blend in the flour and water to make a stiff dough.
Chill at least 30 minutes or until firm.
Once the dough is cool roll it between 2 pieces of baking paper until its .5 cm thick.
Cut it into the biggest square you can.
Repeat process until all the dough is used.
Cut the dough into 1×2 cm blocks with a sharp straight edged kitchen knife.
Leave the pieces in place and bake for 15 minutes.
While your gingerbread blocks are cooling, make some royal icing to hold it all together.
1 pound (3-3/4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
1 to 2 large egg whites, or substitute 4 teaspoons packaged egg whites and 1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon almond extract, vanilla or lemon juice
Now that everything is cool and ready to go, you and your little ones can set about making some abstract gingerbread structures. You can build a village, a city scape whatever yours and their heart desire.
If you want to make your dough in advance use an ice cream scoop and store it in the freezer in our vacuum seal bags. Storing it in smaller scoops makes defrosting it faster. You can also choose to roll out individual scoops for gingerbread people. Make a family, snowmen, pets, cars and simply have fun cooking them.