Daring Bakers’ December Challenge- 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.

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.

Royal Icing:

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.

14 Comments

  1. Posted December 23, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Love it!!! Where did you get the owl cookie cutter, its adorable!

  2. Posted December 23, 2009 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I think I got it at a thrift shop. Either that or it’s leftover from my 70’s childhood!

  3. Posted December 23, 2009 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, I found one on etsy! 🙂

  4. squeaky mouse
    Posted December 23, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    mmm…looks absolutely stunning!!!

  5. Posted December 23, 2009 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Such a fun house! I love your decorations and photos and everything! Wonderful job =D.

  6. Posted December 25, 2009 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Oh well how colourful! And I LOVE all your cookie cutter shapes!

  7. Posted December 25, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    I came across your blog thru DBC.The gingerbread house looks so wonderful.Loved it.The owl looks beautiful too.Was going thru ur beautiful blog..liked it alot.I live in Minnesota too:)

  8. Posted December 25, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    I love your gingerbread house! The candies are so festive and the decorations just add such a nice touch. We have that same owl cookie-cutter, I think we’ve had it since I was a kid. 🙂
    Merry Christmas!!

  9. Posted December 26, 2009 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Great job! I love your house, especially all the candy touches.

    Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

  10. Posted December 26, 2009 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I love your woodland animals! Great gingerbread house. Yes, it must be very tempting watching your mother create something so delicious looking and not being able to eat it immediately!

  11. Posted December 26, 2009 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    I just want to stroll through that delicious wonderland you’ve created! It all looks delicious.

  12. Posted December 27, 2009 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Great house! I love all the different kinds of hard candy you found.

  13. Posted December 28, 2009 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    just love this pictures and adore your house and all the decorations.

  14. Claire
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    I love all your candy choices – great house!