|December 22, 2009||Posted by ameliaps under castle, dessert, gingerbread, holidays, icing, sweets|
The kids have been asking for me to build them a special gingerbread construction.
We opted for a castle. So I had my oldest (6 yo) sketch the castle and then daddy transformed their sketch into cut-outs.
I made the dough from a King Arthur Flour recipe and then we customized the whole castle with sprinkles and candy, in soft pastel colors to give more of a winter wonderland flavor.
We even included a draw bridge
Keeping the construction in a square format made it actually very easy to assemble. The kids are pretty happy with the result!
The idea of keeping the colors on the plastel side came from observing the ice that has formed in the last days outside our house (it has been pretty cold):
Don’t they look like trees??? Nature’s jokes
I was in Chicago for work last week and had a chance to take a magical walk outside while the snow was coming down silently, putting me in a wonderful Christmas mood…
3/4 cup (6 oz.) buttermilk (I used milk with a tsp of vinegar, since I did not have buttermilk)
6 tbsp. (3 oz., 3/4 stick) butter or margarine
1 cup (8 oz.) brown sugar
1/2 cup (6 oz.) molasses
1 large egg
5 cups (21 1/4 oz.) King Arthur Unbleached
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
In a large saucepan, heat the butter in the buttermilk until it is just melted and remove from the heat. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat in the egg. Whisk the spices, salt and baking soda together with one cup of flour. Add this to the wet mixture and mix until incorporated. Add flour one cup at a time until you have a smooth, stiff dough. It should be stiff enough to be flexible, but not crumbly or sticky. Divide the dough in half, wrap it in plastic and flatten it out before chilling in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Roll out the dough and then cut-out the desired shapes using a template and a harp pairing knife.
Bake the cookies in a preheated 350°F oven for 15–18 minutes; they’ll be slightly soft when you remove the pan from the oven. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
The royal icing recipe is also from King Arthur flour.
3 egg whites*
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
4 cups (1 lb.) unsifted confectioners’ sugar
Food coloring (optional)
Vanilla, lemon, peppermint or other extract (optional)
*Meringue powder works just as well; use 1/4 cup meringue powder combined with 1/2 cup of cold water in place of the fresh egg whites.
Royal icing needs to be kept covered, because it will dry quickly and become lumpy if exposed to the air. The easiest way to store the icing for long periods of time is in a plastic pastry bag or zip-top food storage bag. If you have disposable pastry bags, using an uncut bag as a sleeve for the bag you are piping from is an easy way to keep everything from drying out.
In a large bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy. Sprinkle in the sugar gradually, whipping all the while. The more you whip the icing, the stiffer it’ll be and the faster it will harden up. If you want to “paint” with the icing, you can use food coloring to create different colors and thin the icing with a few drops of water so it will flow.
When the pieces of gringerbread are cooled and the icing is ready, assemble your “house” (castle in our case) and use the icing to “glue” the pieces. Before the icing dries sprinkle and add candy.
USE YOUR IMAGINATION!!!!!!!
We had some left-over dough so we made it into stars and assembled a gingerbread star tree, with golden dragees: