Saturday, December 7, 2013
There are two kinds of Gingerbread used for building houses - Regular edible dough and "Construction Grade" gingerbread. Regular dough is used for small to medium houses and for children's houses. It tastes like gingerbread cookies, but is a bit sturdier. It is easy to roll out and work with, and bakes up nice and brown due to the large amount of molasses in the dough. I usually use regular edible dough for everything but the largest of houses. It can be twice baked for extra sturdiness.
Construction grade gingerbread dough is technically edible, but you'd break a tooth if you tried to eat it. It is good for larger houses and competition houses because it is hard as a rock and resists humidity. (Competitions often necessitate building your structure many weeks or even months ahead, so the sturdier your dough the better.) It is a little tougher to work with, which is one of the trade-offs. Most construction grade gingerbread recipes contain much smaller amounts of molasses or use honey or corn syrup in its place. This results in a drier dough that is less brown in color. If you are building a large house or live in an area prone to humidity, try this recipe for Construction Grade Gingerbread dough from the fabulous website Gingerbread Exchange.
For a good edible gingerbread house dough, I highly recommend this recipe:
Tasty Edible Gingerbread dough:
This is a recipe that I modified only slightly from the Better Homes and Gardens "Cookies for Christmas" book (1985). This is a great overall cookie book, by the way.
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
(optional: 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves)
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl, stirring to blend well.
In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the molasses and egg, then gradually add the dry ingredients. Chill dough for about an hour before rolling out.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Roll dough about 1/4" thick and cut out using a pattern (you can buy a premade pattern online or make your own. Some stores even sell cookie cutters for the walls and roof.)
Bake on a foil or parchment-lined cookie sheet about 15 minutes until done.
Cool completely before assembling. For tips about assembling and decorating your house, see my post Gingerbread House Tips and Ideas
Posted by Christa Dunn