Monday, December 12, 2011

A Humble, Healthy, Gingerbread House



Do you remember that last year I posted about our annual Gingerbread House? If you will check that post, you will see more about the method, and in particular, you will be able to get the pattern to cut out the gingerbread house pieces.

This time, I've adapted the recipe to use only healthy ingredients. As you can easily see, I am NOT an artist. I am certain that most of you can come up with much more attractive ways to decorate this little house using natural and healthy items, but using what I had on hand, and my limited talent in this area, here is my little house.


Gingerbread Recipe

3 cups freshly ground spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 Tablespoon Rumford baking powder
1/3 cup Sucanat
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup raw honey
2 pastured eggs
1/2 cup melted extra-virgin coconut oil

Royal Icing Recipe

3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pound Sucanat
1 Tablespoon Xanthan gum

Mix all of the gingerbread ingredients thoroughly with an electric mixer. Place the dough in a covered dish and refrigerate it for 24 hours.

Use a large baking sheet (they call it a "half sheet") and either line it with a Silpat, or, grease it and then line it with aluminum foil. Grease the foil, or the Silpat, as well.

Place the chilled dough onto the pan. Grease a rolling pin and wrap it in plastic wrap. The dough is a little sticky, and this will prevent problems.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Roll the dough out carefully, to cover the pan. Be patient. It will take a little while to get it all rolled out evenly.



Here it is, all rolled out:



Place your parchment paper pattern (see the link for last year's gingerbread house) onto the rolled dough, and folding it, use a small paring knife and gently score the cutting lines into the dough. There is no need to cut all the way through.





Beat an egg well, and paint the dough using a pastry brush or a piece of paper toweling dipped in the egg.

Bake at 300 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, cut the pieces out on the scored lines and allow to cool completely.

Next, carefully remove the house pieces from the baking sheet and place them on wire cooling racks. Place the racks in the oven and let the gingerbread bake for another 10 minutes.



Now, on to the Royal Icing...

Traditionally, Royal Icing is made from powdered sugar, cream of tartar and raw egg whites. This is a little different.

First, combine the Sucanat and xanthan gum, and one half at a time, grind it to a powder in an electric blender.

In the top of a double boiler, over simmering water, place all the icing ingredients and mix with an electric mixer, while cooking, until the icing is stiff.



Assembling the Gingerbread House ~

Again, please refer to last year's post, but I have included a few pictures of what I did today. I found that I could use a piping bag for this, but it was rather difficult, and I resorted to using a table knife to spread the icing where I needed it.



The decorations include popcorn, crispy pepitas, crispy almonds and raisins. (Crispy nuts and seeds are made by soaking them in salt water for at least 7 hours and then dehydrating them. This gets rid of the anti-nutrients and makes them much more digestible.)



A view of the roof covered with popcorn:



For those of you so inclined, I hope you will enjoy this little project!

This post is linked up at "Real Food Wednesday" and "Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, AND at the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop! Also, Clever Chicks Blog Hop #12.

14 comments:

  1. This.is.awesome!!! So informative, inspiring, and not to mention YUMMY:) This is an excellent alternative to that nasty stuff in the stores. I am pinning this! My babies would love to spend the day making this. Thank you!!! I would be so honored if you would share this today at Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways. I would love it even more if you could put us on your Wednesday blog hop list:) I hope to "see" you soon! Here's the link: http://frugallysustainable.blogspot.com/2011/12/frugal-days-sustainable-ways-5.html

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  2. Andrea, you made my day! Thank you! I don't have blog hop list and don't even know how to make one! :) But I have linked to FDSW. Thank you for the invitation!

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  3. Making gingerbread houses is an annual tradition at our house. I never thought of using popcorn though, I'll have to add it and the nuts and raisins to our table. (I have to admit I love the gumdrops!)

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  4. Just wanted wanted you to know that I love this so much I will be posting it to the wall of my fb page! I'm so happy that you made it over and joined our little community by sharing this great post! Blessings to you:)

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  5. We make ours out of Graham Crackers and a great icing!

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  6. Mom, This is great! So how did the Sucanat work for the royal icing? Was it the same? Did you have to make it into powder first? It looks like peanut butter in the picture. I miss making gingerbread houses when we were kids.

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  7. Autumn, yes, I had to powder the Sucanat first. If you read in the instructions here, you'll see all about it. I wanted to cook the egg whites, and also not use corn starch (GMO's!) in the frosting, so used the xanthan gum and cooked everything in the double boiler. The frosting was harder to work with, that's why I resorted to using a table knife and everything looks so... uh... crude? lol !

    Andrea, thank you so much! And Jolijuja, I remember doing that, with the graham crackers at a Church activity for children years ago. It is really fun!

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  8. This is an awesome gingerbread house, and your step by step tutorial is just wonderful! Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul hop.

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  9. What a cute house!! I love the popcorn roof. And the instructions are really helpful. I linked up to you on my blog because I was looking around for great healthy gingerbread house ideas. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. Thank you Angela! I am glad you found this post. I like the popcorn roof too. It looks like snow... sort of. :)

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  10. I love it! Gingerbread smells so wonderful when it is baking! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

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  11. I came across this recipe and am excited to try it with my daughter! When I linked to the old post to get the pattern, it wasn't there. Any tips? Thanks!

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    1. Oh, dear... Quite a while ago, I removed all of the less than healthy recipes from my blog and unfortunately that disappeared as well. :( Now, of course, I regret it! If you will email me at ilovekefir@hotmail.com, I will do my best, somehow, to get the pattern to you! If you have that "half-sheet" pan, like in the pictures above, you might be able to recreate the pattern I have. I use the same one year after year. I used to make a new one each year, but figured out that I didn't need to do that anymore! It's a little greasy, but I just fold it up and keep it with the recipe in my recipe box. :) Please contact me, and I'll try to help if you need me to.

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