Gingerbread Halloween House

Gather your favorite trick-or-treat candies and some icing to create a spooky Halloween gingerbread house.

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  • Makes: 1 house
  • Prep: 4 hrs
  • Chill: 2 hrs
  • Bake: 12 mins 375°F per batch/300 degrees F

Gingerbread Halloween House

Directions

  1. For gingerbread dough, in an extra-large bowl combine butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt, cloves, baking powder, and nutmeg. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add eggs, beating until combined. Add molasses, beating until well mixed. Gradually add all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour, beating until well mixed. Divide dough into four portions. Chill dough about 2 hours or until easy to handle.
  2. Have pattern pieces ready to use. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a large sheet of parchment paper, roll out one portion of the dough to a rectangle that is 1/8 inch thick. Lightly flour top of the dough as necessary to keep it from sticking to rolling pin. Place some of the pattern pieces on the dough rectangle; use a sharp knife to cut around each pattern piece. Remove excess dough. Remove pattern pieces; set aside. Using a sharp knife, cut four windows in each wall piece (cut out the windows freehand so they are irregularly shaped). Transfer dough cutouts on parchment paper to a large cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Gingerbread pieces will spread some during baking. To trim gingerbread pieces back into shape, place pattern pieces on the hot gingerbread pieces; cut around pattern pieces with a sharp knife. Remove pattern pieces. Bake gingerbread pieces for 2 to 3 minutes more or until edges begin to brown and gingerbread is firm in center. Carefully slide the parchment paper with the baked gingerbread pieces onto a wire rack. Let cool completely. Repeat with more dough, parchment paper, and the remaining pattern pieces. (Set aside any remaining dough for another use.)
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F. For window panes, line a cookie sheet with foil. Spoon the crushed butterscotch candies onto center of foil, making a 10x8-inch rectangle. Bake in the 300 degrees F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until candies are completely melted. Using the back of a spoon or a metal spatula, quickly spread hot candy into a thin, even sheet. Transfer foil with sheet of candy to a cutting board. Quickly use a long, sharp knife to score hot candy sheet into 16 rectangles, each about 2x1-1/2 inches. When completely cool, peel foil from back of candy sheet; break into rectangles along scored lines. Set aside.
  4. To assemble and decorate the roof units, place Chocolate Royal Icing in a decorating bag fitted with a small round tip. On a sheet of waxed paper, pipe icing onto side edges of each of the four large roof sides. Quickly assemble roof sides, staggering the corners as shown. If necessary, use tumblers or cans of food to prop pieces up until dry. When dry, pipe icing around top edges of large roof sides; carefully place large roof top on top of roof sides. Let dry about 1 hour or until pieces are sturdy. Repeat with the small roof pieces.
  5. In a medium microwave-safe bowl combine candy coating and shortening. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 2 to 3 minutes or until melted, stirring every minute. Using a pastry brush, carefully spread the melted chocolate mixture on the sides and tops of the prepared large and small roof units, spreading thinly and evenly to cover. Let stand until completely set. Also brush the melted chocolate mixture on the small porch roof piece to cover. If desired, for a fence, dip some pretzels in the remaining melted chocolate mixture; place in a single layer on a sheet of waxed paper and let stand until completely set.
  6. To assemble house section, use piped Chocolate Royal Icing to attach the window panes on the inside of the house side walls. Let stand for 1 hour. On a sheet of waxed paper, pipe icing onto side edges of each of the four large wall sections. Quickly assemble walls, staggering the corners as done for the roof units in Step 4. If necessary, use tumblers or cans of food to prop pieces up until dry. Repeat to assemble the four walls of the upper level (turret). (If desired for added support, cut rolled wafers into 2-1/2-inch pieces. Pipe a thin line of icing on inside corner of each wall section. Place a wafer piece in each corner. Let stand about 1 hour or until firm.)
  7. For the porch roof, pipe a horizontal line of Chocolate Royal Icing in the middle of the side walls and the front wall of the house. Gently push a rolled wafer into the icing. Attach the three porch roof pieces, one at a time, using rolled wafers for support columns and securing with more piped icing. For front of house, attach the small porch roof piece in center of the long porch roof piece, securing with piped icing.
  8. When all the sections are completely dry and firm, place the assembled large roof unit on top of the assembled house walls. (If desired for added support, before adding roof, pipe a thin line of icing on top edge of each wall. Place a rolled wafer on top of each of the walls. Let stand about 1 hour or until firm. Pipe another line of icing on top of the each wafer; top with roof unit.) Place the assembled small roof unit on top of the assembled upper level (turret) walls. Set the assembled turret on top of the large house section. Secure in place with piped icing.
  9. Decorate the house as desired by adding cracker shutters, licorice brick work, and/or a chocolate bar door; secure the decorations with piped icing. For finishing touches, layer pieces of chocolate bar for a walkway, pipe spider webs in window corners, and pipe decorative edges as desired. Use dots of melted chocolate to attach candy corn to the rooftops. If using the fence, peel chocolate-covered pretzels from waxed paper; arrange them around house, using a little bit of melted chocolate to connect them. You may even place a miniature string of lights inside the house to illuminate it.

Chocolate Royal Icing

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine powdered sugar, cocoa powder, meringue powder, and cream of tartar. Add warm water. With a hand mixer, beat on high speed for 10 to 12 minutes or until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Tint frosting with brown gel paste food coloring to desired shade of brown. If desired, add black and red gel paste food coloring as necessary to make frosting a rich brown color. Keep icing covered with plastic wrap when not in use.
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