House of Sweetness

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

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Patrons who poured tea last week Thursday at The Terra Nova Hotel got a first glance at the hotel's impressive gingerbread house created by resident pastry chef Dawn Mitchell. The 15x12 house will be on display throughout the festive season. As a special treat, Thursday Life is sharing the recipe so you can try your hand at your very own gingerbread house.



Ginger Bread Cookies


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsps baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp ground ginger

1 3/4 tsps ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

6 tbsps unsalted butter

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup molasses

2 tsps vanilla

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest (optional)


In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended.

In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well blended.

Add molasses, vanilla, and lemon zest and continue to mix until well blended.

Gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth.

Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.

(Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but in this case it should be refrigerated. Return to room temp before using.) Preheat oven to 375°F.

Grease or line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place 1 portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface.

Sprinkle flour over dough and rolling pin.

Roll dough to a scant 1/4-inch thick.

Use additional flour to avoid sticking.

Cut out cookies with desired cutter-- the ginger bread man is our favorite of course.

Space cookies 11/2-inches apart.

Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes (the lower time will give you softer cookies).

Remove cookie sheet from oven and allow the cookies to stand until the cookies are firm enough to move to a wire rack.

After cookies are cool you may decorate them to your liking.

Royal Icing:


3 cups confectioners' sugar

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

2 egg whites, beaten


In a bowl, sift together confectioners' sugar and cream of tartar. Using electric mixer, beat in 2 beaten egg whites for about 5 minutes or until mixture is thick enough to hold its shape.


Bake gingerbread using the templates of desired house plan. Assemble using royal icing as glue.

Allow to dry and decorate as desired.


For this particular structure, royal icing run outs cover the outside walls and gumballs pressed flat were overlapped to form roof tiles. Candy cane lights were used beside the front door and large peppermint balls were stuck together with royal icing making the topiaries highlighting the front door. Fondant tiles were used for the mosaic landscaping and lollipop bushes decorate the sidewalls.




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