Gingerbread Cookie Cutouts
Here's a yummy gingerbread cutout recipe great for gingerbread men and gingerbread houses. You can also use the recipe for these gingerbread snowflakes previously feature on the blog.
Gingerbread Cookie Cutouts
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove
a pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare 2 cookie sheets with parchment or silpat.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda.
Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer cream shortening and sugars together until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, spices, and salt. Then, gradually add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. The dough will be stiff and ready to roll out with out chilling.
Roll out dough to approximately 1/8 of an inch thick and cut with desired cutters. Place on a prepared cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. (smaller pieces may need less time so keep an eye on them during baking) Then, move to a wire rack to cool.
I was able to make four 6 inch by 6 inch gingerbread house and all of the decorations with the dough.
Gingerbread House Tips
caramel glue and window "glass"
I used Martha's recipe for sugar syrup for my gingerbread house. You can find it here. With a steady hand use a small spoon to pour the caramel into the window cutouts. Using the caramel for glue allows for a more secure house with almost instant results unlike royal icing that can take hours to dry. If your caramel begins to harden before you are done with construction put the sauce pan back over low heat but do not let boil or you run the risk of burning your caramel. Which doesn't taste or look good.
make a template
Instead of purchasing a "cookie cutter" gingerbread cutter set, draw out your design on cardstock. Cut out the shapes from the card stock and place them on your rolled dough. Then, use a sharp knife cut out the shapes from the dough. That way, you have a gingerbread house unique to you ;) Just make sure you measure and use a ruler so that your shapes come together correctly.
when in doubt cover in powdered sugar
A good douse of powdered sugar can give your gingerbread house the freshly fallen snow look and bonus, it can be a great coverup for any mistakes. ;) Just use a sugar shaker or fine mesh sieve to dust the sugar on the top of your finished house and you will get an instant winter wonderland.
roll your dough directly on to parchment or Silpat
Rolling your dough out and cutting the shapes on the parchment or Silpat you plan to bake on eliminates the the risk of of the shape breaking or becoming misshapen when you transport it to the pan.
decorate before construction
Decorating with royal icing before assembling your house can help with piping intricate details. It can also be helpful in securing heavy candies. This will allow them to dry laying down instead of fighting against gravity while drying standing up. After your house is assembled, you can touch up decorations and pipe up joints etc.
use a microplane to sharpen edges
If you find that your cookies have lost their crisp edges after baking you can use a microplane to grate of the excess cookie and there you have it crisp edges again.
use battery powder flicker tea lights
Using battery lights will create a warm glow inside of your gingerbread house. The light streaming through the caramel windows really adds a special touch. It's a plus if you can find tea lights like these that are on a timer so there is no need to access the lights after constructing the house.