Shirlee Goodness Cakery

Making the world a sweeter place one cake at a time

The Gingerbread House Centerpiece

on May 21, 2012

For my second gingerbread house which was to be the centerpiece of my “Hansel and Gretel” table setting, I used the recipes from the bon appetit website @ http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/1996/12/building_the_perfect_gingerbread_house.

I highly recommend their instructions.  The gingerbread is delicious, besides making nice firm and straight walls.  The icing is smooth and sticky enough to hold the walls together.   The instructions are illustrated step-by-step.  And the template gives a very nicely shaped house with a steep roof with lots of area for decorating. 

I made a few changes. Instead of making the cookie shingles, I used the leftover gingerbread dough to make gingerbread boys and girls to have at each place setting.  I had fun to decorating them each a little bit differently. 

The royal icing made with egg whites definitely has more sticking power and is much smoother than royal icing made with meringue powder. I used pasteurized egg whites (like “Egg Beaters”) to make the royal icing. I found it so convenient to measure out the egg whites rather than cracking eggs, separating the whites, and throwing out the yolks.  And since I was decorating cookies for people to eat, I felt more comfortable using pasteurized egg whites than raw egg whites.   The egg white royal icing was not as stiff, though, so I made my last batch of royal icing using meringue powder because I wanted to make sure the ground had some nice texture to it.

Also, I made window panes using candy.  After baking the walls with the cutout windows, I added crushed hard candies and returned the cookies to the oven for about 5 minutes at 350 degrees, just until the candy melted.  After the house was decorated, I cut a hole through the cardboard base and inserted electric tea lights which flickered inside the house to light the windows.

The house made a festive and colorful centerpiece!

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