Friday, December 21, 2012

Gingerbread Madness

I go a little gingerbread psycho around the holidays. I make batches and batches of dough to turn into battalions of gingerpeople and a neighborhood of gingerbread houses for friends and neighbors. I pipe royal icing until my hand starts to cramp, then I shake out my hand and keep going. I keep the candy industry in business for another month. Long story longer, I've been mid-ginge for about a week, and I have finally swept up the last of the powdered sugar, searched out the wayward gumdrops that fell on the floor, and put away my rolling pin, cookie cutter, and gingerbread house molds for another year. Here's how it went:

This is not even close to all the dough.

I had plans for nine houses this year, but, alas, one house collapsed into delicious ruins. It must have had ginger-termites, or something. That was at about 11:30 last night, and I'd been working for ten hours straight by then (with a few more hours to go), so I just made some extra gingerpeople for those recipients and called it good.

This one's ours.

And here's the gingerbread recipe I use:
(I got this somewhere on the internet a long time ago. If it's your recipe, let me know, so I can credit you)

Gingerbread (this makes quite a bit)
-6 C all purpose flour
-1/2 t baking powder
-4 t ground ginger
-4 t (or more) ground cinnamon
-1/2 t ground cloves or allspice (cloves will make it spicier)
-1/2 t salt

-12 T softened butter
-1 & 1/2 C packed brown sugar
-2 large eggs
-1 C dark molasses
-1 Tblsp water

1. Combine ingredients in bowl #1

2. Beat the butter and brown sugar together until fluffy in bowl #2. Beat in eggs, molasses and water, scraping down the bowl frequently.

3. Add half of flour mixture to bowl #2 until well blended and smooth, then add in the rest. If it's too sticky, add a little more flour. If it's too dry, add in more water, a Tablespoon at a time. It should be sort of velvety and touchable in texture. Something you could roll out without it sticking to everything. I usually hand knead it at the end.

4. You can roll it right out, or you can wrap it up with plastic and chill it for a few hours. I've done it both ways. I do find that the flavors marry nicely when given some time in the 'fridge, and since I make so much, I usually mix up all my batches of dough one day, bake another day, then decorate and assemble on a third (or fourth, fifth, etc...) day. It will bake up and taste just fine right out of the mixer though.

Bake at 350 for about ten minutes (for gingerpeople) but watch them. The thicker you roll out the dough, the longer you should bake it.