Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

Geneabloggers Winter Cookbook- Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookie Cut-Outs
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup molasses
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar until light, beat in eggs and molasses.
Stir together dry ingredients and gradually stir into molasses mixture with wooden spoon. Mix well, working with hands if necessary.
Divide dough in quarters, shape into disks and wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm, can be refrigerated for up to one week.
Roll out chilled dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake at 375 F for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool a few minutes before removing from baking sheet.

Gingerbread House Glue

I have made Gingerbread houses for years and I got discouraged by the time it took to assemble using icing to glue the pieces together. I have started making them again because I’ve learned abut a quicker and stronger glue. I was watching the “Christmas at the White-house” a couple of years ago and the chef was making the traditional “Gingerbread White-house” and he was using melted chocolate to glue it together. How simple is that! It firms up and holds after a minute of being chilled. I just assemble the houses in front of a slightly open window. I put melted chocolate into a ziploc bag and cut the tip. When it starts to cool in the bag I put the bag in some hot water, keeping the tip out of the water or in the microwave for a few seconds.

Rolling out Gingerbread pieces

I use the bottom of the baking sheet and roll out the dough right on the sheet and cut it. I remove the scraps and just bake it in the oven. This way, the pieces don’t get stretched by being transferred to the cookie sheet and the pieces fit together better when glued. You have to score the cut lines with a sharp knife when still warm. Make sure that your cookie sheet doesn’t warp when heated, I have a couple of these, they’re still okay for baking cookies but not gingerbread houses.

Cutting out Gingerbread Houses

I use quilting template graph sheets for cutting out gingerbread pieces. They are plastic and see-through and the measurements are easy to read. It is easier and more accurate than cutting out templates from cardboard and trying to get them to fit.

I found the recipe on a Wilton’s forum. I made fondant the old way before for my son’s birthday cake and it was so time-consuming and the fondant was hard to work with (his birthday is the end of July so it was humid). This is easy to make and quick, you can have a batch of fondant in 15 minutes! I am going to use it to make decorations for the gingerbread houses, it’s a lot cheaper than going out and buying candy.

Marshmallow Fondant

1 cup mini marshmallows
1 tbsp water
1 1/2- 1 3/4 cup powder sugar

Place marshmallows in a standard 1 cup measuring cup and push down and pack them in. Place in a microwave safe bowl and add the water. Put in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Just long enough for them to soften and puff up. Take out and stir with a spoon until it is combined well. At this point it looks kind of soupy. Then add the sugar and mix and fold until all is incorporated and it is no longer sticky. I take it out of the bowl when it gets to the point where most of the sugar is incorporated and I knead it in my hands. This takes roughly about 5-7 minutes. Take a fondant roller or a regular rolling pin and roll out just as you would Wilton’s fondant. You can get this fondant almost paper thin and it also repairs well. It’s cheap, easy to work with, and tastes great too.

You can make a large batch of this fondant as well by doing this:

Large batch of Marshmallow fondant:

1- 16 oz bag of mini marshmallows
2 tbsp water
2 lbs powdered sugar (8 cups)

Do the same procedure as above.

Fondant is used for cakes and candies. It is rolled out and draped over cakes and gives a professional finish. It can be coloured, flavoured, painted, lustre dusted, transfer pictures, etc. You can make bonbons by dipping fondant balls in chocolate. I made candies and trim that looks like eyelet, trees, snowmen, bricks, etc. It is like edible playdough. It dries out and becomes firm and I just glue it on with icing.

It can be rolled out and used to cover the base of the Gingerbread House too, just take a piece of tinfoil large enough to cover the cardboard base, crumple it up and then smooth it out, not all of the way, leave some bumps in it,just no sharp edges, you can make drifts in it with tinfoil too, just crumple up a piece and shape it, but make sure there is room for the house to sit level. Then you roll out white fondant to about 1/8 ” large enough to cover the base, place the fondant over the tinfoil and the bumps in the tinfoil makes it look like snow. Put the Gingerbread house in place and decorate.

Here is a thread with more tips : Marshmallow Fondant

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Filed under: Geneablogger's Winter Cookbook 2009, Special Events, ,

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