Sunday, January 1, 2012

Not so Gingery Gingerbread Houses

Since B has no safe spices so far (cinnamon was a big bust so we have steered clear of others for now), I came up with a recipe for chocolate gingerbread houses. It works beautifully for house making and it makes a great cracker/crisp cookie. Just be sure to let the gingerbread cool on the pans before moving! It will break if you move it while it is too hot but if you wait, it holds together beautifully. Also, my non FA niece who is almost two LOVED this recipe just as much as B did! Kid approved!

Chocolate Gingerbread Houses
2 cups sorghum flour
2 cups quinoa flakes
1 1/2 cups millet flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening (I used spectrum palm oil shortening)
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup fruit puree or 1/2 diced pear
1 Tbsp water/ safe milk (I used coconut)
2 tsp vanilla (optional)

Blend the first 6 ingredients well in a large mixing bowl. This makes a lot of dough, so be prepared! Set aside.

Cream the brown sugar and shortening in a separate bowl. Add in molasses and puree (or diced fruit-- I used the diced pear), blending well with an electric mixer or a pastry blender. Continue blending and add milk and vanilla.

Fold the brown sugar mixture into the flour mixture slowly, blending until all ingredients are well mixed. (Again, I used a pastry blender. I got two new ones for Christmas too! Hooray!). Now it gets a little messy. I found that since the dough gets pretty darn thick, kneading it with your clean hands is the best way to get it into a nice smooth ball. Once you form the ball, wrap it up in saran wrap and place it in a clean dry bowl in the refrigerator. Let it refrigerate at least 3 hrs but no more than 24 hrs.

Once refrigerated, unwrap the dough and cut in half. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Take half of the dough and roll out slightly thicker than 1/4 inch thick, between two pieces of parchment paper. Once the dough is even, cut into shapes best suited to your project. You can actually find templates for gingerbread house designs, such as this one . Of course, you can use this recipe for cutout cookies as well and it works rather nicely.

Bake at 325 F for 8-11 minutes for small shapes, 15 minutes or longer for gingerbread pieces, depending on size. I simply checked on  the cut outs after 10 minutes and then again every five minutes thereafter. They should puff up a little bit and have a cakey cookie look. Once they are done, place cookie sheets aside to cool. Cookies need to remain on baking sheets until relatively cool! If you move them too early, they will break. If you want them to cool more quickly, you could bake the cookies on parchment lined sheets and then lift the parchment paper with cookies on it off of the sheets and onto wire racks for cooling.

For frosting, I used a simple pseudo "buttercream" recipe---- 2 cups powdered sugar, 5 Tbsp palm shortening, 2-3 Tbsp coconut milk, 1 tsp vanilla. (For a firmer frosting, you could use coconut manna instead of the shortening). I spread the frosting onto the joints of the house, adhered the pieces together, cleaned my edges, and then piped additional frosting over top of the joints to make it pretty. We decorated with smarties and the homemade gumdrops. I made a little person cookie with the leftovers and frosted it, decorating with enjoy life mini chips.

I will post pictures soon! More recipes tomorrow!

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