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.
I was pretty excited when I read the above challenge for this month! I like a challenge that allows you to go out on a creative limb and this one probably takes the cake so to speak for unlimited creative possibilities.
We were allowed to choose from two recipes. One was a recipe from Beatrice Ojakangas and so I didn’t even think twice. I love her recipes and many of you have seen me post other recipes from her on here before so of course I had to choose my fellow Minnesotan’s recipe for Scandinavian gingerbread. I had no problems with the recipe. The gingerbread smelled so good while it was baking. My house smelled like yummy spices for two days! The recipe is in this book (as well as below):
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
My plan was to do a “woodland friends” themed winter cottage complete with a curved thatched roof. I baked the roof around the side of a saucepan and it worked without any problems but I really wish I would have used shredded wheat rather than Chex mix for the “thatch”. It just doesn’t look that great to me. Oh well.
I can’t wait until my kids are older and I can set one of these up for a whole month to work on little by little rather than rush it all in one day before I get tired of arguing with my son about why he can’t eat the entire thing! Here are the pictures. The recipe follows.
Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)
from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas http://astore.amazon.com/thedarkit-20/detail/0816634963
1 cup butter, room temperature [226g]
1 cup brown sugar, well packed [220g]
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]
1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.
2. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.
3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.
4. [I rolled out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick (which allows for fact that the dough puffs a little when baked), cut required shapes and transferred these to the baking sheet. Any scraps I saved and rerolled at the end.]
5. Preheat the oven to 375’F (190’C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.
1 large egg white
3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract
Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren’t using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.