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Chocolate Gingerbread Dough Recipe - Suitable for House Building

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Santa's Sleigh Made with Chocolate Ginger

Santa's Sleigh Made with Chocolate Ginger

© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
I adapted this recipe for chocolate gingerbread dough from one by Fancy Flours. In my opinion, it is suitable for house building but not for eating because it produces a firm, almost crack-your-teeth-hard cookie. This is what you want when building a gingerbread house or nonedible Christmas tree ornaments. It's called "construction" gingerbread dough or "structural" gingerbread house dough. It doesn't grow much in the oven, so shapes won't become distorted as other doughs with a lot of leaveners tend to do. Make sure to roll to 1/4-inch if you want the design of a cookie cutter to really show up and stand out in full relief. Compare it to this lighter-colored gingerbread house dough recipe that is also suitable for building.

If this dough is for building, why waste my precious spices on a dough no one will eat, you might ask. The answer is because the baked dough will still perfume the air with the spice notes, creating a festive feeling.

I made Santa's sleigh and reindeer out of this chocolate gingerbread dough. Here is a larger picture of Chocolate Gingerbread Dough.

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 14 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes

Yield: 1 Gingerbread House / 84 Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened, non-alkalized cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsulphured molasses or dark corn syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice until well blended. Set aside.

  2. This is a very firm dough, so you will need a strong arm or a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. In a separate large bowl or stand mixer, beat together shortening and sugar at medium speed until well blended and light, about 2 minutes.

  3. Add the molasses or dark corn syrup, egg and vanilla and beat until blended. Gradually add half of the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. As the dough begins to stiffen, remove the bowl from the mixer stand and add remaining dry mixture, stirring it in with a wooden spoon. When all of the flour mixture is added you may complete the blending using your hands. Blend thoroughly to form a smooth, homogenous dough. Shape the dough into three flattened disks. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour (or up to one month) before rolling.

  4. When baking, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375 degrees. Place dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to desired thickness, usually 1/4-inch. Using cookie cutters, cut out dough, leaving 1 inch between cuts. Gently lift off the dough scraps in between the cut pieces and save to re-roll. Do not attempt to move the cut pieces. Pick up the parchment paper by opposite corners and slide it onto a baking sheet. Repeat this process if you have enough dough.

  5. Bake pieces for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they feel firm to the touch. Carefully slide the parchment off the baking sheet and onto a flat surface to cool. Let the cookies cool completely flat. When the cookies are cool, gently lift them off the parchment. The pieces can be assembled once they are completely cool.
Source: Adapted from Fancy Flours.
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