Monday, December 12, 2011

A Gingerbread Haus

I may have gotten ahead of myself when I mentioned New Years Eve in my last post.

Work is insanely busy with catering for holiday parties. We are talking plate-up for 1300 people, working from 10 am until midnight kind of busy.

For the past two weeks my own kitchen has been perpetually covered in flour, sugar and Hershey's Kisses from unfinished holiday baking... just the way I like it.

AND, though it is already mid December, I have yet to buy a single gift. So as you can see, it is still very much Christmas time.

Did I mention I made a gingerbread house?

The house took about three days to complete.

I had never made a gingerbread house before. There was a lot of measuring, calculating, gluing (with royal icing,) and praying that the cookie roof would not collapse.

One of the biggest challenges I faced while constructing the Ale House was deciding which kind of icing to use as "glue" for the structure. All traditional cake icings are butter or shortening based and never fully set. These are good for eating, not so good for holding up gingerbread and rice crispy treats. I opted for a royal icing and am happy with the results.

I like it when the word house is spelled/pronounced haus. As in Ye Olde Gingerbread Haus. Or in this case, Ale Haus. This place has great hot wings and over seventy beers on tap and I got the chance to make it out of sugar. It was one of the most fun projects I have undertaken.

I have a little extra gingerbread dough in my fridge that desperately needs to be rolled out and made into gingerbread people. I am thinking about making them look like the cast of Jersey Shore- nothing says Merry Christmas like a Gingerbread Snooki. We shall see...

Happy holiday baking!

Royal Icing
2 egg whites
3 c confectioners sugar
stand or hand mixer

1. Using a whip attachment, beat egg whites until foamy
2. Add sugar 1/2 c at a time
3. Beat on high until glossy peaks form (2-3 minutes)
4. Use icing to hold up/decorate gingerbread house
*Best if used within 24 hours; store in an air tight container (this stuff sets like concrete when it dries!)

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