~ Gingerbread House Recipe and Ideas ~ Gingerbread house decorating is a lot of fun! Be creative, use your imagination and have a wonderful time decorating your house. Please remember: no gingerbread house kits or patterns are allowed for the competition. Strive to make your one-of-a-kind gingerbread masterpiece! You may use the suggestions found below and you can also find great tips and ideas in books or on the Internet. Sometimes looking at photographs of other people’s creations can be a great starting point for your own house! Recipes: CONSTRUCTION GINGERBREAD ROYAL ICING ¾ cup (6 oz.) buttermilk 3 egg whites * 6 tbsp. (3 oz. or ¾ stick) butter or margarine ½ tsp. cream of tartar 1 cup (8 oz.) brown sugar 4 cups (1 lb.) unsifted confectioners’ sugar ½ cup (6 oz.) molasses Food coloring (optional) 1 large egg Vanilla, lemon, peppermint or other extract 5 cups (21 ¼ oz.) unbleached flour (optional) 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. ginger * Meringue powder works just as well; use ¼ cup 1 tsp. cinnamon meringue powder combined with ½ cup of cold water ½ tsp. salt in place of the fresh egg whites. Remember that construction gingerbread usually has more flour in it than regular gingerbread cookie dough. The extra flour makes it sturdier, so it will be easier to assemble your house. Use royal icing as the glue or mortar that holds your house together. Royal icing dries quickly and becomes lumpy when it is exposed to air for too long, so remember to keep it covered when not in use. House construction: It may be helpful to draw your design on wax paper or cardboard, cut out each of the pieces, and then lay them over the gingerbread as guides for cutting. You may cut out your gingerbread pieces before baking. Retrimming the edges of baked gingerbread pieces with a serrated knife will create good contact between flat surfaces that need to be joined together with icing. Apply a generous but not dripping amount of icing to one side of a corner or joint and then fit the other side at the appropriate angle. Briefly hold in position until the icing has had a chance to set, or use cans or other sturdy objects to help support the pieces until the icing dries. This is especially important for the roof. If you want to have the walls covered in icing, you’ll need to thin the icing with some water and spread it gently on the sides before you assemble the house. It may also be easier to do detailed outlining with icing before assembly. Make sure to allow the icing “paint” to dry before continuing to assemble the house. Decorating: Any edible material can be used to decorate your gingerbread house. Just go to a candy store and use your imagination! Don’t forget that other foods such as cinnamon sticks, almonds, pretzels, frosted cereals, or shaved coconut can also be used for nice effects. Small colored candies make great Christmas lights. Rock candies simulate realistic pathways and stonework. Peanut brittle can be used for sidewalks, fruit leather for sculpted bows – the possibilities are endless! Think about different building materials and the kinds of foods that have similar textures, colors or shapes. You can try melting colored hard candies at 250°F for 6-8 minutes to create stained glass windows. (It may be easier to install this kind of window effect before the roof has been glued to the house.) Before baking, you can impress your rolled gingerbread with designs for an added touch. Draping icing off the roofline and along the eaves can look like snow or icicles. Use tweezers or toothpicks to help place your candy details. Inexpensive art brushes and water may also be helpful. Mistakes can always be wiped up before they dry! Keep in mind that any area of the gingerbread house that's covered or overlapped by something else should be decorated first. Lighting: Electrical lighting can add a magical effect to your gingerbread house. A small strand of Christmas lights, a small night light on an extension cord, or any other small light that doesn't get too hot will work well. Remember to place your light source inside the house before or as you build the structure. If you forget, you'll need a large enough opening to fit the entire light fixture, rather than just running the electrical cord through a back window or door. Holes can be creatively concealed with other decorative elements. Also keep in mind that if you leave the windows bare or empty, then the method of lighting inside will be visible to the viewer. Making semi transparent candy glass windows will give a beautiful glow to your house! Online reso urces: Information in this packet was found in the following sources. Visit each website for more great tips! Gingerbread House Heaven http://www.gingerbread-house-heaven.com/index.html A comprehensive site with tips on how to construct your house, lots of photos and videos for inspiration, suggested materials and techniques for roofing, ideas about how to make candy ponds or rivers, guidance on edible clay or sugar craft methods such as pastillage, gum paste, fondant, or marzipan, and tips on how to electrically light your gingerbread house with candy “glass” windows. King Arthur Flour’s Building a Gingerbread House (google search or visit the address below) http://www.kingarthurflour.com/stuff/contentmgr/files/7512947c75dd4ce76f3a611041c1fe40/misc docs/gingerbread.pdf This PDF includes step by step photos and instructions on how to cut, bake, assemble and decorate a gingerbread house, as well as suggestions on how to create trees, windows, roofing effects and landscaping. Decorating Guide http://www.iceentertainment.com/Gingerbread%20Decorating%20Guide.htm This site includes a lengthy list of candies and foods that can be used as decorations for your gingerbread house. City of Homes - Houses of Springfield http://www.housesofspringfield.com/ Want to recreate a historical landmark or home from Springfield? Find your inspiration among hundreds of old photographs on this site made by a Springfield resident!
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