I've been making gingerbread houses for Christmas since I was six years old, but it wasn't until a couple of years ago that I got into the haunted gingerbread house game. It was only natural, given my love for all things Halloween. When we decided that we were going to do our Halloween photo shoot at the historic and allegedly haunted Lemp Mansion here in St. Louis, I knew I had to venture into haunted gingerbread house territory once again. My challenge this time around was to make a miniature gingerbread replica of this famous St. Louis landmark and create a haunted gingerbread house template so all you Smarties can make your own![caption id="attachment_48171" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, MO. [/caption]
The thought of making a gingerbread house can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. There's a few tips you can employ that will ensure you have a successful endeavor:
- Precision: Make sure your pattern is accurate, and that when you bake each piece, you trim it back down to size when you bring it out of the oven because the baking process will inevitably cause some expansion. The easiest way to minimize that is to add more flower to your dough.
- Trimming the gingerbread pieces as soon as they come out of the oven while they're still soft will be easier than after they've cooled. If they've already cooled, be sure to use a serrated knife and a sawing action to avoid accidental breakage. Don't attempt to remove any of the freshly baked pieces until they've completely cooled.
- When creating your cutouts (before baking), it can be easier to roll out the dough on the cookie sheet your planning to bake them on, and removing the trimmings rather than rolling it out on another surface and attempting to transfer them to the cookie sheet. My favorite tool is a silicon baking mat. I can roll out the dough on it, make my cuts, remove the trimmings, and then pick the whole thing up and place it on the cookie sheet. You can probably achieve the same effect with wax paper.
- Do not use regular pre-prepared icing to decorate your gingerbread house. The bread can absorb the moisture from the icing and become unstable. Instead, opt for a more solid royal icing that dries quickly. It's easy to make and I'll give you a recipe below.
What You Need:
For the dough:
- 3 rolls of pre-made sugar cookie dough
- 2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup dark molasses
- 3 ounces eggwhites*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioner's sugar
Complimentary Smarty Products:
|Splendor Silver Rim Black Dessert Plates||Black Satin dinner Napkins||60" x 102" Black Linen Polyester Tablecloth||Black Grandeur Dinner Napkin or Guest Towel|
If you're raving over this party theme, get more ideas here:
|Edgar Allan Poe Theme Halloween Dinner Party||DIY Party Poms||"The Raven" Cocktail Recipe|