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Rhonda Hair, Nov. 2007,

Gingerbread for eating and buiIding
c. butter or margarine 5 c. flour
c. sugar tsp. baking soda
c. molasses 2 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt tsp. ground cinnamon
tsp. ground cloves, optional
Beat butter till softened, add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add molasses and beat well,
then stir in dry ingredients (Ì always add the first cup of flour with the other dry
ingredients, mix well, then stir in the remaining flour). Roll out /4-/8" thick, cut out
shapes, and bake at 375 degrees for 9-5 minutes, depending on thickness and size of
pieces- till browned. Tastes best if cooked a bit on the darker side.
To make the cookies have a lighter crunch (like if you're just making gingerbread men),
follow the recipe except ALSO add an extra ½ tsp. baking soda ( ½ tsp. total), egg,
and 2 Tbsp. vinegar. You will have to chill the dough before rolling.

Gingerbread for buiIding
Edible, but harder to eat. bakes up very hard, spreads very little
½ c. light corn syrup 6 3/4 c. flour
/4 c. brown sugar Tbsp. cinnamon
c. butter or margarine ½ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. salt
Combine syrup, sugar, and butter in a large saucepan. Heat, stirring until sugar and
butter melt. Add dry ingredients. Mix, using hands as dough becomes stiff. Wrap dough
in plastic wrap and chill for a couple hours to make it easier to handle. NOTE: for me,
Ì've never had to chill the dough. More often, Ì've had to warm it back up, in the
microwave, to get it workable if it's cooled down too much.
Roll /8 inch thick onto parchment, cut into desired shapes, bake at 375 degrees for 2-
5 minutes or until golden brown. Trim pieces, if needed, while still warm and soft.

WhiIe making gingerbread houses here's what I've Iearned:
* Don't use bread flour in your dough, it makes the pieces shrink when they bake!
* To save lots of frustration, ripped and stretched pieces, roll your dough directly onto a
sheet of parchment. Cut pieces out with a pizza cutter, remove the trimmings, put the
parchment on a cookie sheet, and bake.
*To get your pieces to fit together perfectly when assembling the house, trim them again
after baking, using the original pattern pieces and the pizza cutter again. You have to be
quick, this only works while the pieces are still hot and soft. (you can warm them up
again in the oven if you weren't fast enough...) Let pieces harden a bit before you take
them off the parchment.
*Ìf you don't have molasses, no worries, use corn syrup instead, and brown sugar
instead of white. Ìt won't be as dark or as strongly flavored, but close!
Before baking your pieces, you can give them texture by scoring them with a knife, a
ruler, a scalloped cookie cutter, pressing with the tip of a spoon, etc. This gives you
great shingles, siding, or brick walls.
*Forget using Royal Ìcing to glue your house together, where you have to prop up the
pieces for an hour to get them to set!- for instantly-dry, edible hot-glue for your houses,
use melted sugar- put ½ cup or so of sugar in a heavy pan, heat it until it turns amber-
colored (stir a bit to get it to melt evenly), then set it on the lowest heat possible to keep
it liquid. Dip a side of your house into the 'hot glue' (chefs call this caramel) and
immediately press the other piece into it. Hold the pieces together, bottoms against a
flat surface, for 5-0 seconds, or til it holds itself. Just don't touch your finger to the hot
*For decorating, you can use regular buttercream frosting, frosting from a can, or Royal
Ìcing. The latter dries hard as a rock so it lasts better long-term, but that isn't important if
the houses are going to be eaten within a couple days.... or minutes.

*For an easier gingerbread house project with the kids, cut out just the front of a house,
(think big!) and let the kids decorate the flat cookie like they would a house.
*For stained glass windows, crush hard candies, Life Savers, or cough drops, put in a
window opening after the piece has baked and return it to the oven for a few minutes,
until it melts. Use a toothpick to get it in the corners if you need to. Let the piece sit on
the parchment for at least 0 minutes to let the candy harden.
*For really great brick walls, score the horizontals with the edge of a ruler (space them
evenly), the verticals with the tip of a butter knife. Brush with color before baking: for
brownish brick, use /4 c. water, Tbsp. cocoa, and a touch of pink or red food color.
For Brick Red: /2 Tbsp. water, tsp. cocoa, and several drops of red food color.
Brush on with a pastry brush or paintbrush. For variation in brick darkness, go back and
re-brush some of the bricks again before baking. For a very shiny finish, use corn syrup
in place of half or all the water. To add a mortared look, after baking and cooling,
sprinkle powdered sugar (for light mortar) or cocoa (for dark) all over the brick wall, then
brush or rub it off the bricks and into the crevices.

ecorating ideas:
$hingIes: Necco wafers, sugar wafers, Nilla wafers, any candy in a pattern (licorice
bites, M&Ms, Christmas hardtack, Swoops cut in half if your house is big, sticks of gum
cut into fourths to make shingles....)
Thatched roof- Shredded wheat, or put gingerbread dough through a garlic press, bake
$hutters: Hershey bar pieces, sticks of gum, pieces of gingerbread
FIower pots: a Rolo, top off with some frosting flowers
Grass- coconut tinted green
$now- plain coconut, regular or macaroon (finely flaked), billows of frosting, a heavy
sprinkle of powdered sugar
irt- fine crumbs from bread, graham crackers, or Oreos
Curtains in the window- a piece of Fruit Rollups/ fruit leather, maybe add frosting
polka dots
GIass tiIe windows- white or yellow Chiclets set close together
$tepping stones- candy rocks, sesame candy, Necco wafers, cookies
Fences- candy rocks stacked together with Royal Ìcing, upside-down pretzels,
Pond- aluminum foil colored with a blue marker, or glass candy poured on your base
Porch raiI- licorice, pretzel sticks, candy canes