Friday, December 16, 2005

All About the Gingerbread

I know this blog needs an update, but it's gingerbread baking season so all you get is my wonderful, top secret gingerbread recipe. Gotta go, I've got 2 gingerbread houses to assemble.

2 cups of sugar

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature

3 T molasses (or date syrup is a good substitute)

1 egg

2 T water or milk

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using table butter)

1 Tablespoon cinnamon powder

2 teaspoons ginger powder

1/2 teaspoons clove powder (optional)

In large bowl, beat sugar, butter and molasses until light and fluffy. Add egg and water blend well.

Stir in flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves; mix well to form a smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for 1 hour for easier handling.

Heat oven to 350 F. On floured surface, roll out 1/3 of the dough to 1/8th inch thick. Cut with floured cookie cutter. Place 1/2 inch apart on ungreased flat baking pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or just before they start to darken at the edges. Time will vary according to how thick you roll your doug. Immediately remove from baking pan. Cool competely before frosting.


3/4 cup cold water

1 Tablespoon unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup powered sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

In medium size (2 quart) sauce pan, combine water and gelatin. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar, bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer (low boil over medium/low heat) for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar; beat till foamy. Stir in baking powder and vanilla; beat at highest speed until thick, about 10 minutes. Immediately put frosting into 3 or 4 small plastic bags. (put small plastic bags into glasses with tops hanging over outsides of glass. Pour in frosting, leaving enough room to twist and tie the bags shut. Snip a very tiny hole in the cornor of the bag to use as a decorating bag.) Gently squirt the frosting out to decorate the cool cookies. If the frosting gets gluey or hard to squeese, microwave it at low power for 10 seconds or so till frosting is slightly warm to the touch and easily squeezable. Kneed bag gently in hands to mix the warmed frosting. Frosting should be just slightly warmer than body temperature the whole time you are using it. Bags of unused frosting will keep in the fridge for weeks. Just heat it slowly and gently in microwave,.

This frosting is the wonderful secret to decorated gingerbread. It dries in about 2 hours, and is then hard and completely set, making your cookies unsmudgable. If you want to make a gingerbread house, this is the stuff you MUST use. You only need half a batch of frosting to decorate a full batch of cookies, so with some more practice you can half the frosting recipe. The bags of frosting also keep well in the refrigerator for several weeks and just need to be SLOWLY AND GENLTLY heated in the microwave till (kneeding the bags between each additional 10 second increments) slightly warm before they are usable again.


Happy baking!