Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gingerbread House Tips and Recipes

Chef Sara Beth Thomas
Sara Beth Thomas, Executive Pastry Chef at Carolina Crossroads Restaurant at The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, N. C., is a pro at creating gingerbread houses. She has generously shared her recipes and tips to make your holiday treat a success.

Crossroads Restaurant
 Chef Thomas' Tips
1. Have a theme, not necessarily a Christmas one. It could be a local landmark, your own house or somewhere special,to your family.

2. Icing is key and it needs to be right. This could take a little trial and error but follow the recipe below. The trick is to make sure it is not too firm because it will be too hard to pipe. But if it is too loose it will not stand up and make a mess.

3.  It is also important to have a solid gingerbread recipe. Now this is not like a gingerbread that you would eat on Christmas morning; it is a little more dense so it can stand up. I've include one that works.

4. Make sure you have all the tools you need ready so that you are not looking for the ruler when you need it. Gingerbread houses are like building a regular house; all your measurements need to be consistent and precise.

5.  Let your imagination run wild and have fun!


Gingerbread House Dough
 Yield: 1 14in. X 12in. House with Roof

1 ½ cups Shortening                     
1 ½ cups Sugar                                 
3 Eggs
1 cup Molasses
6 ¾ cups All-purpose flour                           
1 ½ TBS. Ginger                               
1 ½tsp Cinnamon                        
1 ½tsp Baking Soda                    
In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, cream together the shortening and sugar. Add the eggs slowly.

Add molasses followed by all of the dry ingredients. Chill the dough for about one hour.
Roll out the dough for your desired pieces and bake at 300 degrees (F) for 15 to 20 minutes.

Royal Icing

12 oz. Egg whites
4 lbs. Powdered sugar
1 TBS. Cream of tartar

In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment add the powdered sugar and cream of tartar.

Slowly add the egg whites until you get the desired consistency. You might need to add more egg whites if the batter is too thick or you might need more powdered sugar if the batter is too runny.

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