Gingerbread Tips and Tricks

Start your holiday baking early with these tips on making gingerbread for all seasons.
Gingerbread house display

From the Stroudsmoor Inn Towne Bakers ...

The first tip/trick is to make your gingerbread dough the day before cutting and baking, ensuring the dough is easy to roll out smoothly. Knead and roll into a ball, flatten into a rectangular baking dish or baker’s tray creating a block of dough – this allows for easy cutting into smaller portions for rolling.  Cover with a cotton cloth and refrigerate to ensure a smooth surface and less cracking during baking.

Decorating gingerbread can be costly when buying the pre-packaged trim.  Forgo the expense by making your colored sugars.  Mix ordinary household granulated sugar with food coloring to create a rainbow of colors to ice and trim your gingerbread treats.

Icing gingerbread with a baker’s pastry bag requires a firm hand and lots of clean up.  Try using a zip-lock plastic bag instead.  Cut a small section out of the bag’s corner, insert the nozzle of an empty whipped cream can for the decorating tip, fill the bag with icing, and ZIP!  Clean up is as easy as a drop in the garbage bucket!  Other benefits of using the zip lock pastry bag are:

  • Seal your leftover royal icing in the bag for tomorrow’s batch of cookies.
  • Make a pastry bag for different colors and flavors of icing to avoid filling and refilling.
  • If you spring a leak, zip the old bag into a new bag, and you are back in business.

To ensure your decorations adhere to the dough during baking, spritz each piece with cold water before decorating.  Don’t forget; your leftover Halloween candies are great for decorating – use Candy Corn for turkey feathers and the tops of fence posts to bring gingerbread to the Thanksgiving table. Use round mint jelly candies as wreaths and skittles as Christmas lights to line the roof.

Are you tired of scrubbing cookie sheets between batches?  Roll your dough out on foil and through your sheet pans away instead of scrubbing!  Cut your foil large enough to fit the metal sheet pan, grease and flour the foil’s surface.  Roll the dough out on the prepared foil, cut out figures, and remove the scrap.  Slide the foil on the metal sheet pan, decorate, and bake.  Another advantage of using foil is it will allow you to keep cutting while the first batch is baking. 

Stroudsmoor's Family Gingerbread Recipe

Ingredients

gingerbread village

Line several cookie sheets with aluminum foil. Butter and flour the foil.  In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars.  Beat in the molasses and eggs.  In another large bowl, sift together dry ingredients.  Combine mixtures and knead into a smooth ball.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  Remember, making the dough the day before will create a better-finished product.  Roll out on foil, cut out shapes and bake.

For decorating, use our recipe for Royal Icing

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat egg whites on low speed until just frothy, approximately one minute.  Beat in ¼ cup of sugar slowly.  Add the remaining sugar and beat until the mixture holds a peak – very thick.  To keep a crust from forming while decorating, cover icing with a damp paper towel.  Remember to use your disposable zip lock pastry bags for easy cleanup.

Flavored icing is always a hit; add 1 tablespoon of your favorite extract or liqueur like Grand Marnier or Creme de Cacao to the icing for a whole new gingerbread twist.

Finally, if baking isn’t your forte or just doesn’t fit into your busy schedule, Stroudsmoor Bakers are at your service, ready to accept orders for your favorite Gingerbread cookies and houses. 

For more details contact Stroudsmoor Inn Towne, Located off Exit 307 off I80,125 Broad Street, Stroudsburg, PA 18360 – 570-517-0663

Happy Holidays!