Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Gingerbread House Party

This is the result of an evening of sugar laden, giggly frolic.

I bake them using Lois Black's Ginger Snap recipe, the absolute best tasting ginger bread. These can be rolled out as thin as you like and if you are just making cookies rather than houses you will be baking ginger snaps for weeks. This is the only cookie dough I cannot help myself from eating raw. I sometimes have to make an extra batch just so I can finish my house pieces because I have eaten so much of it.

Lois Black's Ginger Snaps:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar (yes, only cider vinegar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • enough flour to form a stiff dough (could be anywhere from 4 to 6 cups depending on the moisture content of your flour)

Combine sugar, molasses, butter, egg, cinnamon, ginger and baking soda. Mix well.
Add cider vinegar, vanilla, flour slowly till you have a nice stiff dough. Roll out thin and cut into desired shapes.

Bake at 325 F, approximately 10 to 12 minutes

If you are making ginger snap cookies, for adults, add a dash of cayenne pepper for extra zip!

Of course this has to be assembled carefully. After the structure is built you have to wait for at least 15 or 20 minutes and sample the candy.

A very important step in planning is more taste testing. We had green and red Smarties, Mini M&M's, JuJube Wreaths. Gummi reindeer, Mint Kisses, Gum Balls, Andes Mints Chocolates, Chocolate Balls, Malted Milk Snow Balls, Chocolate Macaroons, Ribbon Candy, Coloured Sprinkles, Reese's Mini Cups, Candy Canes, Candy Corn, Mints, Candy Snow Men and Candy Santa's.

All of this is cemented into place with Royal Icing. The meringue powder I have been able to find the last few years has not been as nice to use as what we previously were able to buy. It is now premixed with Icing Sugar so it is even more expensive to use. The other product only required 2 tablespoons of meringue powder to each 4 cups of icing sugar. This uses 1 cup of meringue powder to 3 1/2 cups of icing sugar, and being the same price... costs 4 times the price.
This year is it was freezing cold and the air was crisp dry. Our last 2 decorating parties had pouring rain outside, the icing would not dry quickly enough and all our roofs slid off, walls collapsed - what a trial. We were able to fix everything by using roof trusses (Cinnamon Sticks) to support our candy laden tops.
This year was great, only one roof slid and only one wall pushed in.

This year I only needed to bake 6 houses, I have baked 9 for this party before. I think our bag Ladies group has been making these together for at least 8 years, maybe 10.

What a great night!

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