In addition to my mother being a great influence in my life, I have been blessed to have other great women who have left their mark on me. One of those great ladies is Roxie Turner. I doubt that any one is the same after spending time with Roxie. She has a smile that radiates from deep within her beautiful soul. One of the best things that Roxie passed on to me is the tradition of making Gingerbread houses with my kids (or grandkids) during the Christmas season.
Roxie let each of her five children make at least one, if not two Gingerbread houses and during Christmas, Roxie’s home looked like a museum of Gingerbread houses!
Roxie didn’t use a Gingerbread house kit, she baked real gingerbread and cut out each piece and then decorated it using homemade icing and all the trimmings. This is a big project but well worth it. However, if you decide it is too much for you go ahead and buy a kit, the important thing is the experience, the time spent together, and the memories you will make.
Every kid wants to make a gingerbread house.
6 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sift all ingredients together
1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup dark molasses
1 Tbsp water
Mix dry ingredients and put aside. With an electric mixer combine on medium speed the butter and brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, molasses and water and blend well.
Mix half of the flour mixture in with the egg mixture. Mix well and then add the remaining flour into the egg mixture until well blended. This will be too thick for a mixer but you can do it by hand or with a mixer’s dough hook.
Refrigerate dough for a couple of hours. Let sit out about 10 minutes and roll out to 1/4″ thickness. You will need to flour the surface to keep the dough from sticking. Roll the dough out to the size of our baking sheet and transfer to a heavily greased cooking sheet. Lay your pattern on the dough and cut out the shape leaving the excess dough around the cut out shapes. You can eat the excess after it bakes.
Bake in a 350 degree oven 11-15 minutes or longer until cooked very dry. Remove from oven cool slighty and then lay pattern back on baked dough and cut out again while still soft cutting off any jagged edges. Cool completely.
Royal Icing recipe: Not for eating just for decorating.
1 pound of confectionery sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 egg whites
Sift together cream of tartar with sugar. In a separate bowl begin beating egg whites in a large bowl and then add powdered sugar in thirds until all is blended in. Keep a clean moist towel over the bowl of the frosting while decorating until all is used.
There are several free online patterns and here is a link to one site along with an alternate recipe. www.mccormick.com/…/Gingerbread-House.aspx
Use your imagination to decorate with candies. You can use gumdrops, lifesavers, peppermints, or many other types of candies to decorate.
About the Author
Debbie Williams is the author of Recipes that Remember, a recipe blog dedicated to her mother who passed away from Alzheimer's disease in 2010. Learn more »