I hope you all had wonderful holidays and you enjoyed the festivites. I did, since I didn’t had much time recently, which you probably realized, because it’s the first entry this month in my beloved blog. I swear it will be better in the new year.
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 first read about the challenge in the forum of the Daring Bakers, I thought “how boring”. Then I was thinking about what I can do to make this challenge more fun and interesting and not “just another gingerbread house”. Maybe in your country gingerbread houses are not so common, but here in southern Germany you see them very often. So I decided to make a whole village of smaller houses. I told this idea a friend of mine Sten, and he said, he would make a church, because every village deserves a church. I was very sceptical and said than he had to do this on his own. So last week I prepared the dough from the recipe from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas and on the weekend we met and I prepared the village (with some help from Frank) and Sten was trying on the church. As it took a lot of time, we delayed the gluing and building on another day.
So on monday Frank and I were standing in the kitchen and put the houses together and we also tried this with the church. But somehow S. forgot two pieces of the roof for the tower and all the pieces for the roofs (two and rest of the church) were much too short. We think he didn’t added the thickness of the walls to the roof. So the church looked …ahm… how should I say that… awful? *laugh* Sorry, Sten! The church without the tower looked like a “Mehrzweckhalle” (multi-purpose hall) as we say in german. So no church for the village in the end. But I let me carry away to build a small well out of royal icing. Speaking of the royal icing … I love it! It’s so easy to make and to handle. It dries fast and looks so nice. I thought also about to colour the icing in some nice pastel colours, but in the end I preferred the classical version – just white like snow.
I chose the recipe from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book, because the other recipe (which is also posted below, if you want to try) uses molasses and I do not know exactly what to use for here in Germany. My dough didn’t turn out very dark, but I have seen, that’s normal for that recipe. Secondary the dough wasn’t really smooth. It was really hard to roll out the dough and after baking it also rose. So be sure you don’t make the dough too thick. Lot of people had the problem, that the dough shrinked in the oven. I didn’t seem to me, that it happened with my dough, but be prepared! As you are applying everywhere the royal icing, you won’t see that much of the dough in the end. So don’t worry!
It was optional to use sugar syrup to glue the house, but for me it didn’t work fine. It hardened to fast and did not look very nice. So I glued everything with the royal icing, which worked very well. Don’t forget, that you have to chill the dough for at least two hours. I let mine cool for 2 days… You can also prepare it, freeze it and thaw it when you want. What is also important to make, are templates. Below you can see mine. Otherwise it’s possible that your pieces won’t fit together.
I don’t provide the recipes, because I wouldn’t recommend it, as it wasn’t good in taste and texture.