Scandinavian Gingerbread House - Pepparkakstuga

Recipe from What's For Lunch, Honey?

From The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas

Ingredients

1 cup (225 g) butter, room temperature
1 cup (220 g) brown sugar, well packed
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups (625 g) all-purpose flour, more if needed 

Method

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

  2. Draw and cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.

  3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.

  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

  5. Roll out the dough a little at a time on a floured work surface to a thickness of approximately 1/8-inch. Place the templates on the dough and, using a sharp knife, cut around the templates. Transfer the pieces to cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

  6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Royal Icing

1 large egg white
3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract

  1. Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency.

  2. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren't using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.