Egg-Free Gingerbread House (with dairy-free alternatives)
My family and I made some gingerbread houses this week so I thought I'd share with you what we made and how we made them. This is such a fun activity to do with my kids and I'm so happy that it's now become a family tradition during the holidays :-)
Big brother and little brother gingerbread houses :-)
To start, I drew up some templates to make the houses. I was pretty proud of myself for figuring out how to do this with the computer.
Here are the templates I made. There's two different sizes. Feel free to click on the image and print them :-)
After I baked the gingerbread pieces, it was time to assemble the houses. At first, I tried attaching them with a mixture of melted butterscotch chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips. I thought it would match the color of the gingerbread and make the seams less visible. To help it set faster, I used a trick we used in pastry school for chocolate showpieces: "cold spray" aka compressed air duster. It's the kind you used to remove dust from your computer keyboard. When you turn the can upside down and spray, cold air comes out and sets the chocolate fast. It worked really well but for the kids's gingerbread houses, we decided to just attach them with egg-free royal icing. It didn't set up as fast but it still worked. Besides, the best part is next.
It's time to decorate the gingerbread houses! I spread some icing on the cake board and then placed the gingerbread houses. I also dusted some powdered sugar over the icing for extra snow. I piped some scrollwork designs all over one gingerbread house and we used all the candy we could find in the house to decorate the kids' gingerbread houses.
We even made a fence out of graham crackers, Twizzlers and Starburst candies.
We were sampling some candy while we decorated. How could you not?
Here are some pictures from last year. I made a bunch of miniature gingerbread houses for our Christmas gathering. We had so much fun decorating them :-)
Happy Holidays Everyone and Have fun making delicious desserts!
Here's what we used to build our gingerbread houses:
1 recipe of egg-free gingerbread dough (recipe below)
1 recipe of egg-free royal icing (recipe below)
candies for decorating
powdered sugar for snow
Egg-Free Gingerbread Dough
Allergy Note: contains dairy* and wheat
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup butter*
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk*
4 Tbsp. corn syrup or honey
*for dairy-free alternatives: you can use Spectrum organic shortening (soy-free) in place of the butter; for the milk, you can substitutes like rice milk or soy milk, whichever suits your dietary needs.
In a saucepan, cook the butter, sugar, milk and corn syrup at low heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat then pour into a mixing bowl and let it cool for a few minutes. Sift together the flour, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Flatten the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours. Since the dough tends to get too soft at room temperature, take out only a portion at a time. Keep the rest of the dough in the refrigerator. Roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out shapes and transfer them onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
Egg-Free Royal Icing
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
Allergy Note: contains dairy ingredients
2 oz. cream cheese, softenend to room temperature
2 Tbs. corn syrup
1 tsp. flavoring or extract (vanilla, peppermint, lemon, almond)
1/4 cup milk
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, corn syrup and flavoring until smooth. Mix in milk. Slowly add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time until the frosting is at the desired consistency. Decorate the gingerbread house either by piping the icing using a pastry bag or spreading it with a spoon or an offset spatula. Allow the icing to dry for 24 hours.
1 pound powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 C)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. whole milk or dairy-free milk
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. extract (vanilla, almond, lemon, peppermint etc.)
With a whisk, combine powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Then stir in corn syrup and extract. Add food coloring into the icing or paint it on afterwards like I did. You can adjust the consistency of the icing for piping by adding more powdered sugar.