Friday, February 26, 2010

Spicy Gingerbread Dough

These don't look super fantastic and cutesy because I made this primarily for the kids to decorate. They did turn out perfect for making the houses. My boys were thrilled. Be warned, this does take a fair amount of time. Don't plan on making it all in one day.
Spicy Gingerbread Dough

From: Sugar and Spice

2 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream or whipping cream (you can add a few extra Tbs. if you have a hard time getting the dough to come together.)
1 1/4 cups molasses
9 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbs. baking soda
1 Tbs. ground ginger

In a very large bowl, with a wire whisk or electric mixer, beat brown sugar, cream, and molasses until sugar lumps dissolve and mixture is smooth. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and ginger. With spoon, stir flour mixture into cream mixture in 3 additions until the dough is too stiff to stir, then knead with hands until flour is incorporated and dough is smooth.

Divide the dough into 4 equat portions; flatten each into a disk to speed chilling. Wrap each disk well with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until dough is firm enough to roll.

Grease and flour large cookie sheets.

Roll out dough, one disk at a time on each cookie sheet(I found this impossible and just did it on my counter top) to about 3/16th" thickness. (It was suggested that you used 3/16th" dowel rods or a ruler to help make sure that you get it to an even thickness. I just eyeballed it.)

Trim excess dough from cookie sheet; wrap and reserve in fridge. Chill rolled dough on cookie sheet in refrigerator or freezer at least 10 minutes or until firm enough to cut easily. (Because I rolled mine on my counter, I just cut it out and moved it to the cookie sheets)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Use chilled rolled dough, floured poster board patterns and a sharp paring knife to cut all house pieces on cookie sheet making sure to leave at least a 1 1/4" between pieces as dough will expand slightly during cooking. (I just used computer paper for my pattern and a cake spatula to cut the dough) Wrap and reserve trimmings in the fridge. Combine and use trimmings for decorative pieces or whatever you want.

Chill for 10 minutes before baking if the dough seems really soft after the cut it. This will discourage too much spreading while baking.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until pieces are firm to the touch. Do not over bake or pieces will be too crisp to trim if necessary.

Remove cookie sheet from oven. While pieces are still warm, place poster-board patterns on top and use them as guides to trim shapes to match if necessary. Cool pieces completely before attempting to assemble the house. Use royal icing to assemble.

Royal Icing

1 large egg white
3 cups powdered sugar (I only needed about 2 cups)
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. almond extract

Beat all ingredients together until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe frosting onto pieces and assemble. Cover the portion of frosting not currently in use with a damp towel to prevent it from setting up.

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