quinta-feira, 24 de dezembro de 2009

Daring Baker's Challenge - December 2009

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.

Anna's Notes: If you don't have an awful lot of time, the doughs can easily be frozen and then thawed when you are ready to roll it. The baked pieces can also be tightly wrapped in plastic and frozen for assembly later.

The house could be as big or as small as you'd like, but it MUST meet these requirements:

1. Everything needs to be edible - no glue or inner non-food supports allowed.

2. You must bake the gingerbread yourself, whichever recipe you choose. No graham cracker houses please!

3. You must use some sort of template. If you don't use ours, take a picture or link to what you do use in your final post. It doesn't have to be super technical - Anna didn't even measure hers, she just cut out shapes from parchment and made sure the edges matched up.

Have you ever heard that kid's story which 3 little pigs must bild a house to protect themselves from the wolf? Well, I'm definetly not the third pig. My little house has colapsed at the first blow...

Thanks Anna and Y for the chance of doing something I have never done before and for all the laughimg.

But seriously, I must say I didn't like this challenge very much. I mean, I can't see the point of all that hard work for something ...ham... tasteless. I don't mind having hard word at kitchen. Difficult recipes really challenges me and I feel great whenever I face and manage to make it. Like that: I DID IT!

But I strongly belive the food must be delicious. Beautiful and delicious. I chose the Scandinavian Gingerbread recipe and it is not like that. Even my kids refused to eat them...

Anyway, here is my results:

And it's gone with the wind...

Y's Recipe:
Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga) from 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]

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.
Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.
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. [I rolled out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick (which allows for fact that the dough puffs a little when baked), cut required shapes and transferred these to the baking sheet. Any scraps I saved and rerolled at the end.]
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.

Royal Icing:

1 large egg white
3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract

Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren't using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.

Simple Syrup:

2 cups (400g) sugar
2 cup water
Place in a small saucepan and heat until just boiling and the sugar dissolves. Dredge or brush the edges of the pieces to glue them together. If the syrup crystallizes, remake it.

Some links to good extra information:(Thanks to Anna, Y and Audax for this)


Gingerbread: Things to Make and Bake by Teresa Layman http://www.amazon.com/Gingerbread-Things-Make-Teresa-Layman/dp/081093367...

How to Build a Gingerbread House: A Step-by-Step Guide to Sweet Results by Christina Banner http://www.amazon.com/Build-Gingerbread-House-Step-Step/dp/0981580610/re...

Gingerbread Houses by Christa Currie http://www.amazon.com/Gingerbread-Houses-Christa-Currie/dp/0385472676/re...

The Gingerbread Architect: Recipes and Blueprints for Twelve Classic American Homes by Susan Matheson and Lauren Chattman http://www.amazon.com/Gingerbread-Architect-Recipes-Blueprints-American/...

Gingerbread Houses: Baking and Building Memories by Nonnie Cargas http://www.amazon.com/Gingerbread-Houses-Baking-Building-Memories/dp/087...

Here are some links to free patterns and information about gingerbread houses


Merry Christmas to you all, and a very Happy New Year.

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