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Video: Tips to make a perfect gingerbread house

  1. Closed captioning of: Tips to make a perfect gingerbread house

    >> z

    >>> and we are backwith today's count down to the holidays and a house everyone is in the market for this time of year.

    >> we are talking gingerbread houses, a christmas tradition for centuries f your baking skills are less-than-stellar have no fear, alex banden, online editor of "this old house" is here to show us the ins and outs of gingerbread making. good morning t can be a little daunting, right? people think it is a lot harder than it actually s.

    >> can be daunting but you would be surprised. we actually are running a gingerbread house contest and you should see the creations.

    >> people are so creative.

    >> give us the 101.

    >> let's start with the kit. the easiest thing you can do inexpensive kits put together in a few hours, great if you have small kids because they probably don't have the patience for a bigger thing.

    >> they love it.

    >> inexpensive.

    >> comes prebaked?

    >> the icing, the gingerbread . you can do that in a few hours.

    >> i love ta little bit more of a purist, might want to make your own gingerbread this kind of thing you need a few dies get ready for. you make your own gingerbread , chill it overnight, the trick to roll it out between parchment paper before you chill it you pull it out and roll it more. hoda, why don't you give it a roll and you and i will get ready with knives.

    >> not.

    >> shouldn't be trusted with a sharp object.

    >> i think that is great.

    >> you there go.

    >> you got it thin enough.

    >> i'm exhausted.

    >> then you really need to use templates and a very sharp knife, x-acto knife or something like that is good. you take your template and put it down and cut very straight lines with the knife what is great, you will get even pieces this way and the edges will be really clean.

    >> whoops.

    >> boy, that is --

    >> in your way here.

    >> that is a sharp --

    >> oh.

    >> don't let little kids do this.

    >> be careful with the knifes with the kids.

    >> so after you do that you bake it and baked gingerbread for, like, 13 to 15 minutes and you can see, actually, here how the cutouts work when you do it beforehand.

    >> how do you make it stand up? i don't get it.

    >> you use icing.

    >> as glue.

    >> give a shoutout to our baker, i did not do this, this is from sweet lisa's exquisite cakes.

    >> near my place. they are fantastic.

    >> they are fantastic. once you have it baked, you can decorate it, make designs on, the best thing is a rotary tool like this which is a dreamle rotary tool . hoda, i will give you one. i will give you one.

    >> oh, my gosh.

    >> you can play with these. now, turn them on. now you can make designs on your gingerbread , like if you want to have bricks, you can start drawing lines with -- to make bricks.

    >> oh, my god, you got to really control that baby.

    >> ahh!

    >> you have to have a steady hand. maybe hold it more like a pen.

    >> you can do damage with this thing.

    >> now, once you have drawn your --

    >> see what this looks like --

    >> this is a house ready to be condemned.

    >> oh, mine's cool. how does yours look?

    >> terrible. i can't control it.

    >> look at that. made designs.

    >> i don't know what it is.

    >> this is held together with royal icing , like an egg white icing, this stuff is like the mortar.

    >> you can stick it along the side.

    >> 30 seconds. go to the reveal.

    >> we get t you glue t you glue it.

    >> another great house.

    >> that is also from sweet lisa's. but if you were really creative, could you do designs that you don't find online, like copying your own house, i don't know if you have seen this yet, kathie lee but --

    >> what?

    >> that is.

    >> alex we got to run, up against a hard break. check out this old house.com for the contest.

    >> and we --

TODAY recipes
updated 12/17/2009 11:10:58 AM ET 2009-12-17T16:10:58

What better way to celebrate the holiday season than by creating a festive — and edible — holiday decoration that has been a Christmas tradition for centuries: a gingerbread house! If your baking skills are less than stellar, have no fear. Alex Bandon of “This Old House” shares a sweet and simple recipe.

Recipe: Gingerbread cookies (on this page)

To vote for your favorite gingerbread creation, visit This Old House online.


© 2013 NBCNews

Recipe: Gingerbread cookies

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter or shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp grated cloves
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsps grated cinnamon
  • 2 tsps grated dried ginger
  • Icing
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 4 cups 10x powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons water
Preparation

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar. Add molasses and eggs and mix smooth. Combine all dry ingredients and add slowly to batter. Mix only until incorporated (in other words, don't overmix).

Turn dough out onto work surface and gather into a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill 2 hours. Roll dough 1/4" thickness (unless you need it thicker) on lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes.

Bake 12-18 min.

For icing: Combine all ingredients in mixer with a whipping attachment. Beat for 7 to 10 minutes. Adjust consistency so it is not too thin or too thick.

Tips

Use shortening for a crispier gingerbread and butter for a more tender and flavorful gingerbread experience.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

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