It is the much awaited Christmas time ?? a time when you start to put up your Christmas tree, hum and listen to carols, make plans for Christmas sweets, buy gifts for your loved ones, get closer to your family and friends and a time to get closer to your faith.
Our Christmas tree is not up this year as we will be going on a holiday soon..so when a Project came up to do a Gingerbread House, I was in high spirits. Got all the materials needed, made the templates on cardboard and here is my Gingerbread House??my first one. Tell me what you think of it ?..
I must add here that my son and my husband were my ‘helpers’ and without them my house would not be standing. 😉 😉
Recipe for the Gingerbread:
1 Cup butter @ room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
? cup boiling water
5 cups flour.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar till well blended. Add the spice powders Mix the baking soda with boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make stiff dough. If needed, add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
Using the template cut patters for the house (Walls, roof, chimney etc). It is a good idea to have them stuck on cardboard.
Keep a waxed paper on the counter and roll your dough on it to 1/8? thickness. Keep your templates on this and cut the dough as per the templates. Transfer the waxed paper to a cookie sheet ensuring that the shape of the template is retained.
Preheat oven to 180-190 deg C and bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm After baking, again place the template on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet
(Used as Cement to glue your house together, to affix the candies & for snow on the roof )
1 large egg white
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon Almond Extract
Whip the egg white till soft peaks form. Add sugar a little by little. Add almond extract and vinegar (white). This will harden over time – is used as your glue for binding the walls together.
Fix the house together and hold each wall together till it sets?.. complete the construction of the whole house this way..keeping the roof for the last.
Decorate the house with candies, icing sugar etc.
I used the ‘Templates’ from this Martha Stewart Site.
Fondant (for the snowmen)
(You will need just a quarter for the snowmen- can freeze the remaining for later use)
2 Pounds Confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp unflavoured gelatin
? cup cold eater
? cup light corn syrup
1 tbsp glycerin
1 tbsp. clear vanilla essence
1 tbsp white shortening.
Sift 1.5 pnds of the Confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and set aside. Transfer the rest of the sugar into a sieve and set aside.
Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a measuring cup. Stand for 2 minutes to soften. Place the bowl into a saucepan with barely simmering water until gelatin dissolves. Stir in corn syrup, glycerin and vanilla essence & reheat..do not boil. The mixture should be smooth and clear. Pour glycerin mixture into well of icing sugar and stir till combined.
Transfer the sticky fondant to a silicon mat and knead- gradually add more icing sugar ? rub the vegetable shortening and knead the fondant.
Allow to rest for 24 hours before using. You will get snow-white fondant. If you need to colour the fondant – remove a bit aside and add one or two drops of colour.
Date, Cashewnut & Carrot Cake
2 cups grated carrots
2 cups flour
1.5 or 2 cups sugar (measure granulated.then powder in dry grinder)
2 tbsps ground spices (Can finely powder 3-4 sticks of cinnamon, little nutmeg, cloves and cardamom – or use 5 spice powder).
3 eggs separated
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped nuts
Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
Soda Bicarb – 1 teaspoon
Corn Oil – 1.5 cups.
Vanilla essence -1 tablespoon
Sift flour along with baking powder and soda and keep aside.
Separate egg white and yolk. Beat the egg white till stiff peaks form.
In a separate bowl- beat well the powdered sugar & oil – then add yolks and beat well. Then add chopped dates, cashewnuts and grated carrot. You can now mix it with your hand or with a wooden spoon.
Then add vanilla essence and spoonfuls of maida -till all is incorporated.
Lastly fold in the egg white gently -by being gently you will get a light cake.
Prepare a cake pan by lining with wax paper (double). Preheat oven to 150-160 degrees. Keep baking for 1.5 hours – or till a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If your oven temp is too hot?bake in a very slow oven.
Author: Judith Serrao- UAE