Last year, we had friends over around the holidays to make gingerbread houses. I had built the houses on foil lined cake boards, and then placed the cake boards on cookie sheets for ease of transporting them. When everyone came over, they had a standing house ready to decorate. We all gathered around the table with more candy and royal icing than we knew what to do with! It was so much fun! We had a bunch of candy left over that we held onto for this year, knowing Ben was going to try and out do his house from last year. (He plans very early). ;)
A few weeks ago I was at the store scanning the holiday section, and my eyes fixated on a Mini 3-D Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter . Visions of all that leftover candy came rushing to my head, and knowing Ben was going to be building a regular size gingerbread house this year, I thought, well, then I’ll make mini houses! It wasn’t even an option to walk away from that cookie cutter empty handed. So not only did I pick one up for me, but I picked up an extra for one of YOU! This cutter was just way too cute to not share, so I am going to give one away to one lucky reader!
I will get into the details of the giveaway in a bit, but for now, let’s move onto the Gingerbread recipe! The package that the cutter came on, included a classic gingerbread recipe, so I went ahead and used that one. I was VERY pleased with the results! The dough was very easy to work with and the dough does not expand much at all while baking. Although the finished cookies aren’t very flavorful to eat, they are the perfect texture for building the little houses and decorating!
Start off by preheating your oven to 325°F and spray your cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray. Slice up your sticks of butter, set aside.
In a large saucepan, put the brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, and ginger over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently with a wire whisk. About a minute after molasses mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat.
Stir in the baking soda. Once baking soda is combined and the mixture has puffed up, gradually add the butter, stirring after each addition. When butter is completely melted and combined, add the egg, vanilla, and salt. Stir until just combined.
When finished baking, remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to completely cool before decorating. I added the ruler to show you just how small these pieces are! So cute!
I made the royal icing while the cookies were cooling since I knew I would be decorating them right away. If you are not decorating right away, I suggest making the royal icing right before you decorate the houses since royal icing dries rather quickly. That way you can make the icing, put the icing directly into your piping bags with desired tip sizes, and you don’t have to worry if your previously made icing has dry chunks in it or not. Once you pipe the royal icing onto the houses, it dries completely within a couple of minutes. I will provide a royal icing recipe below, that is specifically for building gingerbread houses. This particular icing holds your gingerbread houses together like super glue. If only you could see what Ben piles onto his roof pieces! I swear his gingerbread houses weigh 20 pounds! ;) A good royal icing makes all the difference! You don’t want a royal icing that will just chip off, you need “super glue” royal icing!
Classic Gingerbread Recipe
*Makes 4 dozen cookies using the Mini Gingerbread House Cutter
- 2/3 cups light brown sugar, packed
- 2/3 cup molasses
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray.
- Place brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, and ginger in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently using a wire whisk.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in baking soda.
- Stir in butter gradually, stirring well in between additions to combine.
- Add egg, vanilla extract, and salt to sugar mixture, stirring to combine.
- Pour mixture into a large bowl and add flour gradually, stirring to combine.
- Knead dough until dough comes together and is no longer sticky.
- Roll the dough to about 5/16″ thick on parchment paper or a floured surface. Using the cookie cutter, cut dough and place shapes onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes.
- When cookies are finished baking, remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely before decorating.
Recipe from cookie cutter packaging via goodcook.com
Royal Icing for Gingerbread Houses
- 2.2 pounds powdered sugar
- 5 Tablespoons meringue powder
- 1 Tablespoon Cream of Tartar
- 3/4 cup warm water
- Put the meringue powder in the bowl of an electric mixer, add the water, then hand mix using a whisk for 30 seconds until there are no more lumps.
- Add the cream of tartar and hand whisk about 30 more seconds until there are no more lumps.
- Pour all the powdered sugar into the mixer bowl with the meringue powder and cream of tartar combination. Place the bowl on your mixer stand, and using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for 10 minutes. (#2 setting)
- Using a spatula, scrape the sides of your mixer bowl and transfer the royal icing to your piping bags fitted with whichever sized tips you prefer. For the mini gingerbread houses, I used a round #5 Wilton tip for building the walls, and a round #3 Wilton tip as well as the #5 tip for decorating. I also cut this royal icing recipe in half for the mini houses. If you are building a regular size gingerbread house, I suggest using a round #10 Wilton tip for building the walls/decorating.
Recipe from sweetopia.net
Now for the GIVEAWAY! This giveaway contest is now closed. Thank you to those who commented!
ONE of my lucky readers will receive a Mini 3-D Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter!
All you have to do to be entered into this giveaway contest, is leave one comment on this blog post telling me what one of your favorite holiday traditions is! For example, every year, Ben and I make gingerbread houses while watching the Griswold’s Christmas Vacation movie!
This giveaway contest closes on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 8:00pm PST. I will be using random.org to select a winner. I will contact the winner via e-mail as soon as the contest closes so be sure when leaving a comment that the e-mail you provide a valid. Otherwise, check back here after the contest closes to find out the winner!
GIVEAWAY CONTEST CLOSED! THE RESULT IS IN…
Congrats to Wendy (comment #2)! I will be contacting you via e-mail!