Soon is Christmas and since we are living in Norway, you just have to have a pepperkakehus – a gingerbread house. I built ours on Friday and M helped me with the icing.
Building a gingerbread house is important and it’s all about competition. Who builds the best / most impressive / most colorful house? When it comes to gingerbread houses the Scandinavians actually start to compete with each other. 🙂 How important a good and solid gingerbread house is can be understood deeper when reading an article about “how to avoid construction errors – build your gingerbread house in accordance to the rules” published by the scientific institute for research SINTEF. Unfortunately the article is in Norwegian… http://www.sintef.no/Byggforsk/Nyheter/Unnga-byggskader–bak-pepperkakehus-etter-forskriftene/
I used a recipe I’ve been using for a few years now. The gingerbread dough is easy to roll and cut out and the cookies come out crispy and with a lot of flavor.
The ingredients for the dough are:
300gr butter, 150ml dark syrup, 400ml caster sugar, 1 bag of gingerbread spices *or 1,5tsp ground dried ginger, 1tbsp + 1,5tsp ground cinnamon, 1,5tsp ground cloves, 1,5 tsp ground peel of bitter orange*, 3 eggs, 2 tsp baking soda and 1,4l all-purpose flour
Melt the butter with the syrup, caster sugar and spices in a small pot. Bring to boil. Let cool down until lukewarm. Stir in the eggs one by one. Mix the flour with the baking soda and stir into butter-syrup-egg mix. Pour batter in a bag and put it into the refrigerator. Let it sit there for at least a night or for a couple of days.
Roll dough on slightly floured counter out, cut out cookies. The cooler you keep the dough, the easier it’s to roll it and cut out the cookies. Place cookies on a parchment paper, leave enough space between the cookies. Have the oven preheated at 200C. Bake the cookies at 200C for 8-11min. Observe closely because they burn very easily. As soon as the edges get brown, remove from the oven and let cool down on wired rack.
Back to our “house project”
First i had to roll out the dough. I did it directly on the parchment paper to avoid pulling the cut out pieces by moving them.
Rolled out dough with the stencils for the parts. We’ll need: 2 sides for the front (with a door) and the back, 2 sides, 2 roof pieces, 2 sides pieces for the chimney, 1 front and 1 back piece for the chimney
All pieces + some decorative pieces (deer, trees) ready to get glued together
The assembling of the house. I used melted sugar, because it hardens immediately and gets pretty hard which means it holds the parts nicely together.
Done. Only the icing and some decoration is missing.
For the icing i mixed a lot of powdered sugar with one egg white, which I had beat a little first. Try to get the stuff pretty stringy, then it dries faster off and doesn’t run down.
That was our project on Friday. Yesterday we just went to the gym for a short run, did groceries and had a relaxed day before getting ready for the first of two Christmas parties this year. The party was nice, but we didn’t stay too long though.
Today we did some Christmas cookie baking.
Since we’ve had some gingerbread dough left over from Friday, M cut out some more. He did a great job and with tasting (with the help of Ecky) the raw dough every now and then, the two made sure we are going to get only good cookies. 😉
The next type of cookies were coconut macaroons. The ones I prepare are a mixture of beaten eggs with sugar, sour cream and coconut flakes. Oh and we dipped them after cooling down into dark chocolate.
The last baking project for today was a batch of cinnamon stars. A friend had told me that she’s gonna prepare those and I just couldn’t stop to think about the recipe I have. The only thing was since I hadn’t made them for a couple of years, I had forgotten that the batter is so damn sticky and that they’re very labor intense. But every single star pays it off. The batter is a mixture out of egg whites with powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and a lot of ground almonds.
Ready to be eaten… 🙂
He was M’s assistant today and helped us all the way with making sure all cookies are good enough to be eaten…
Have a great week!