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Food & Entertaining

Build your own Haver gingerbread house

Author: Christina Barrueta
Issue: December, 2017, Page 84
Download the patterns and construction template to make your own Haver gingerbread house HERE.

1. Make Gingerbread dough

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

4 teaspoons ground ginger

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons clove

1/2 teaspoon mace

2 large eggs

1 cup black strap molasses

Photo by Michael Woodall
 
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set mixture aside.

With an electric stand mixer and the paddle attachment, beat soft butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add spices. Beat on medium until well-blended. Add eggs and molasses and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl again, add flour mixture and mix until combined.

Divide the dough in half and form each half into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight, or until well-chilled.

The next day, roll out the gingerbread and, using the provided patterns, cut out the shapes of the house. A good trick is to roll them out on the parchment paper you will be using to bake them on; that way, you don’t have to transfer them to a sheet pan, which could distort their edges. You will use a few more sheet pans this way, but it helps to keep the edges straight. Spray the sheet pans with vegetable spray before placing the parchment paper on them. This will help the paper stick to the sheet pan so it stays in place. It is best to put all the large pieces on one sheet pan, the medium-sized pieces on a separate sheet pan and the small pieces on a third sheet pan.

Place sheet pans with cutout pieces in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Once the oven is heated properly, you can start baking the frozen pieces. The small pieces will bake in about 5-10 minutes, the medium-sized pieces will bake in about 10-15 minutes, and the large pieces will take 20-25 minutes. It is best to overbake your pieces, rather than underbake them. They should puff up in the oven and then start to deflate. When they have deflated, and the edges look darker than the center, they are done. Let them cool directly on the sheet pans. Leave them out overnight before building your house.



2. Make poured-Sugar Windows

3 cups white granulated sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

3/4 cup water

Set up your baked gingerbread pieces on a silicone mat over a flat sheet pan.

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Fill a bowl large enough to fit the saucepan with ice water. Clip a candy thermometer onto the saucepan, and cook over high heat until the syrup reaches 300 degrees. Once it reaches temperature, remove it from the heat and place the saucepan in the ice water. This will stop the cooking process on the sugar. It will start to thicken as it cools, so you want to use it quickly, before it hardens. Slowly pour the sugar syrup into the window cutouts. They should firm and dry within 10 minutes.

In order to pour the large windows of the Haver Home, you will have to build a temporary frame out of gingerbread scraps to keep the sugar in place. Once the sugar has cooled and firmed up, you can chip away at the gingerbread frame to expose the sugar window edge.



3. Make Royal Icing

1 pound powdered sugar, sifted

3 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar


Place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whip attachment, mix on low until all powdered sugar is wet. Turn to high and whip until light and fluffy, approximately
7-10 minutes.

The royal icing will dry quickly once it is exposed to air, so keep it covered. You can make a big batch and divide it up for easier storage.

For stiffer royal icing (for piping details, such as the garland or cacti), use less egg white.

For more fluid royal icing (for piping flat surfaces, such as the stepping stones), use more egg white.

Use gel food coloring to add color to your icing. Keep in mind, adding a lot of food coloring will affect the thickness/thinness of the royal icing.



4. Construct the house

MATERIALS:

Gingerbread pieces for house

Piping bag filled with royal icing

Decorations

Floor plan printed out on 11"x14" paper

Platform—use sturdy cardboard, wood or foam board

Soup cans or other objects for supports

Razor blade or similar cutting tool

1. Using royal icing, secure the floor plan to your platform.

2. Pipe along the floor plan and position the first wall piece
in place.

3. Using soup cans or other objects for support, add all
other walls in order, securing them to the floor plan with piped icing.

4. Join wall sides with icing. Pipe the back sides of all seam corners. Using your fingers, press the icing into the seams, wiping away any icing that squeezes out to the front side of the house.

5. Let the walls dry in place for 2 hours.

6. With a razor blade, cut away paper floor plan from inside the house and discard.

7. Add the roof by piping icing along the roofline and add one section at a time in the order given.

8. Let the house dry for another 2 hours.

9. Begin decorating your Haver gingerbread house.



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