Gingerbread houses and Christmas go hand in hand, but if you'd rather bake a batch of cookies, this recipe can be used to make those, too.
- 1½ bars (150g) Lindt Excellence 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate
- 3¾ cups (937mL) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (175mL) Dutch process or 100% cocoa powder
- 1½ tsp (6mL) cinnamon
- ¾ tsp (3mL) freshly grated nutmeg
- ¾ tsp (3mL) ground cloves
- 2 tbsp (30mL) ground ginger
- ¼ tsp (1mL) salt
- ¾ tsp (3mL) baking powder
- ¾ tsp (3mL) baking soda
- 2¼ sticks (254g) butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup and 2 tbsp (280mL) dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup and 2 tbsp (90mL) granulated sugar
- 1 egg and 1 egg white at room temperature
- ½ cup (125 mL) molasses
- Royal Icing:
- 2 lb (900g) confectioner’s sugar, plus more if needed
- ½ cup (125mL) meringue powder
- ½ to ¾ cup (125 to 175mL) warm water
- Food colouring, if desired
Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C) 20 minutes before you are ready to bake the cookies.
In a microwave-safe bowl, break chocolate into small pieces. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until chocolate is just melted. (If you heat the chocolate too high it will take on a burnt flavour.) Alternatively, melt chocolate in a bain-marie on the stovetop. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda and set aside until ready to use.
In bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs, molasses and melted chocolate and mix until combined. Add half the dry mixture and combine until just incorporated, then add the rest and combine until just incorporated, scraping down bowl as necessary. Do not overmix.
Divide dough in two and wrap in plastic before flattening into discs. Chill for one hour or overnight.
Leave dough out for about 10 to 15 minutes, until just slightly warmed up, before rolling out to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured piece of parchment the size of your baking sheet.
Using template provided and working in batches, cut dough along the template lines using a sharp chef's knife, leaving 1 inch between each shape. Transfer to baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes in the fridge. Repeat with remaining dough until template is complete.
For smaller cookies, roll dough on a lightly floured work surface and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Keep cookies of similar size on one sheet to ensure even baking. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of your design. Cookies should be quite firm but not burnt on the edges.
Assemble and decorate the gingerbread house using a piping bag filled with royal icing, fit with a small round tip.
For the Royal Icing:
Place sugar and meringue powder in the bowl of an electric mixer and set on low speed. Pour water in slowly, using enough to create the desired consistency of thick honey. You may need to add in a few drops of water or 1 to 2 tbsp of confectioner’s sugar, since royal icing can be too thick or too thin depending on several factors. Once well blended, turn mixer to medium-high and beat for about 7 minutes.
Add food colouring one drop at a time to achieve desired colour. You can also divide the recipe into parts to create different colours.
Use immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days.