Now that the (amazing, fantastical, unbelievable) Dr. Seuss gingerbread house is finally complete, I can start blogging about it. I want what it looks like to remain a bit of a surprise for now because you will really and truly be impressed at what we did when it is unveiled. You really need to be in a house of artists and architects to create a masterpiece like this one. It was so much fun, and the entire house was covered in candy, flour, and leftover gingerbread for three days–it was 100% worth it. Now we just need to figure out what one does with a completed gigantic gingerbread house–we can’t eat something we worked so hard on! For now I’ll just have to keep admiring it.
But you, my friends, will have to wait a few days to see the finished product. Until then, here’s the recipe for the dough if you’d ever like to make your very own house!
Gingerbread House Dough
- 1 1/2 C whipping cream
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 C firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 T baking soda
- 1 T ground ginger
- 2 t ground cinnamon
- 1 1/3 C light or dark molasses
- 9 C (we used 8 1/2 for the perfect dough) all-purpose flour
First, preheat your oven to 300 degrees and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper (we ended up using five sheets…multiple times). In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, baking soda, ginger (we added a bit extra the second time around with great results), and cinnamon. Beat in the molasses.
In a smaller bowl, whip the cream and the vanilla together until it forms soft peaks, and add that to the molasses mixture. Fold in the flour gradually (warning–the dough will be too tough for a hand mixer and might be too large for a stand mixer–we did the whole thing by hand), you will most likely end up “kneading” the dough together with your hands. We added a half a cup of flour less the second time around, and the dough was a better consistency and much easier to roll out without having to worry about adding too much flour to keep it from sticking.
Lightly flour the countertop, and roll out a portion of the dough until it is ~1/8″ thick. We made our house’s bottom walls first (oh yes, it is three stories tall) and they were the thickest layers (1/4″), getting thinner as we went higher for better structural integrity. The topmost roof was about 1/10″ thick when rolled out. Also, make sure to roll the dough out evenly and to bake equally thick layers at the same time to get a consistent color. We got better at this as we went on, and you will too.
Bake two sheets of dough at a time, for about 20-30 minutes, depending on thickness, until fairly firm in the center. Take the sheets out and position your house template/pattern close together, and using a sharp knife cut around them. We used a cardboard template that Johann created–you’ll see that in the next post. Remove the pattern and the scrap pieces (eat those immediately for best results), and return to the oven for another 30 minutes, or until nicely browned and very firm. Cool for five minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a cooling rack–when cooled, they should be completely hard.
At this point you have two choices: wrap the pieces in plastic and store for up to a month (wow), or start building your house. Tune in tomorrow (or the next day…it is vacation, after all) for Seuss Gingerbread House II: the Construction.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Dr. Seuss:
Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.