“Run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me! I’m the Gingerbread Man!”
Gingerbread houses originated in Germany in the 16th century. When the Brothers Grimm wrote the story of Hansel and Gretel, who find a house made of candy hidden deep in the woods, the popularity of these edible dwellings soared.
Each December, prior to the end of the semester, Dorchester County high school students in Chef Mellard’s culinary arts class design their own gingerbread creations. Students look forward to this tradition each year and delight in taking their work home to share with their families.
½ cup sugar
½ cup molasses
1 ½ teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup margarine
1 egg, beaten
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup all-purpose flour for dusting
In a medium saucepan, heat first six ingredients to boiling, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat; stir in baking soda (it will foam).
Stir in margarine until melted.
With a fork, stir in egg, then flour.
On a floured surface, knead dough until mixed. Divide dough in half, wrap half with plastic wrap; set aside.
With a rolling pin, roll half the dough slightly thinner than ¼ inch.
Cut into desired shapes. See Note.
Bake at 325F on a cookie sheet for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Note: We make houses by cutting out our design (2 sides of the roof, two sides of the house and front and back of the house) on graph paper and then placing the graph paper on the dough and cutting the dough shapes with a sharp knife. We also decorate gingerbread flowers, trees and ornaments.
Vegan/Eggless Royal Icing
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons non-dairy milk substitute (like rice milk or water)
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon almond extract (or clear vanilla)
In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and first liquid (water or rice milk) until smooth.
Add corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too think, add more corn syrup.
Use this icing to “glue” your Gingerbread House together.
Decorate with candy.