The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.
As I only wanted to build a small house, I prepared a half batch of the recipe given below, adding a bit more water to help it coming together. Keeping the dough in the fridge overnight really improved the aroma. I could smell cinnamon right after opening the fridge door. The dough was very firm and difficult to roll out, even after leaving him on the counter for half an hour to come to room temperature. The baked gingerbread tasted very nice. I used two beer mats as templates for the sides of the house and marked them off on the dough with a pizza wheel. The hobbit hole-like door was cut out with an apple corer. To build the house I mixed confectionars' sugar with just a little bit of water to glue the individual pieces together.
Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)
Source: The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas
1 cup butter, room temperature [226g]
1 cup brown sugar, well packed [220g]
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]
1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.
2. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.
3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.
4. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.