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Gingerbread House Recipe

Traditions Strengthen Families

Every year since I can remember, Grandpa Rodriguez baked gingerbread houses for his grandchildren.  These were not “every-thing-included kits”, they were hand-cut gingerbread walls, roofs, doors, even little gingerbread chimneys to make it fun.

I used to watch in amazement as he baked gingerbread, whipped up frosting and built 20- 30 houses in his little kitchen.  Even though it was hard work and took several days, he was all smiles. He once told me that he hoped the kids would always remember creating memories with their grandpa. 

Traditions like these cultivate a connection between immediate family members and between generations. By spending time together in a fun and special setting, family members grow closer. They create feelings of warmth, closeness, and belonging.

Although we lost our dear grandpa to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) this past year, there will still be gingerbread houses.  Grandchildren will gather, memories will be made, grandpa will be remembered, and family will continue to be united and strengthened.

Gingerbread House Recipe

6 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

4 teaspoons ground ginger

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup dark molasses

1 Tbsp water

In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients, set aside.  Beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, molasses and water until well combined. Beat half of the flour mixture into the molasses mixture until smooth.  Stir in the remaining flour.  Knead until well blended.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours. You can make it up to 3 days ahead of time.  Roll out the dough to an even thickness of 1/4-inch. Place pattern pieces, made from cardboard on the dough. Use a small sharp knife to cut out the pattern pieces from the dough, and transfer the dough pieces to a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350°F until the edges are just beginning to darken, 11-15 minutes for the large pieces, 6-8 minutes for the small pieces. Place on racks to cool.

Royal Icing Recipe

2 large egg whites

2 2/3 cup powdered sugar, divided

Whisk egg whites and 1 1/3 cups of the powdered sugar together until smooth.  2. Add the remaining 1 1/3 cup of powdered sugar to the sugar egg mixture.  Beat on high speed using an electric mixer  until the icing holds stiff peaks.  Place a dampened clean towel over the bowl of royal icing. Keep this towel over the icing to prevent it from drying out while you work with it. Fill a pastry bag with the icing when ready to put your house together and decorate with candy. 

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