Saturday, December 15, 2007

Vegan Gingerbread House

Many, many hours later the vegan gingerbread house is done! I learned a lot about gingerbread, house building, and icing. I am not sure I am cut out for gingerbread house making--I am an anal retentive perfectionist when it comes to food and gingerbread houses are messy and sticky with goopy icing and nary a straight line anywhere. But, the kids thought it was the best gingerbread house ever, and they had fun "helping," so that is all that matters.

The gingerbread recipe comes from the Vegan Lunchbox blog. It is awesome--durable, pliable, and reliable.
- 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, at room temperature
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup sweet unsulphured molasses
- ¾ cup water
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- ¾ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- ½ tsp. cloves
- ½ tsp. allspice
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the margarine, brown sugar, molasses, and ½ cup of water.
2. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, adding just enough of the water to incorporate all the flour and form a dough that holds together well.
3. Turn the dough out of the bowl and form into four equal balls. Wrap each ball well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 350ยบ. Line some baking sheets with parchment and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
5. Working with one ball at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Roll the dough about ¼-inch thick and cut into desired shapes.
6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the surface is firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Some sagely advice: make the supporting walls thickish, but make the roof pieces thinner. Any tricky pieces, like dormers, should be cracker thin.

The icing comes from
- 1 lb. confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup powdered soy milk
- 6 tbsp soy milk
- 6 tbsp light corn syrup

In a mixing bowl, mix the sugar and soy milk powder, then add most, but not all, of the soy milk. Add corn syrup just until combined. Add remaining soy milk if the icing consistency is not smooth enough, but be careful not to add so much that it will be too runny or fail to harden.

1. Go small. Don't try to be a hero and try to make a scale version of your own house.
2. Make sure the afternoon is free. This is going to take a while.
3. Make the icing is as thick as possible. You really can't replace egg whites in royal icing, as it turns out, and gravity is not your friend.
4. Thin is good for gingerbread. Things can get unruly if the pieces are too thick.
5. Be patient. Let base pieces set and dry before you start building up.


Tracy said...

Wow! That is one amazing piece of vegan architecture!

Veg-a-Nut said...

Congratulations! You took on something I am not sure I dare, well at least not this Christmas! I also must say, darn good gingerbread house Vegan dad and kids!

Vegetation said...


Friar Tuck said...

Straight lines are over-rated VD. Embrace the chaos.

Anonymous said...

it's glorious! very impressive!

when are you gonna eat it??

Katie in Minneapolis

Anonymous said...

Confectioners' sugar and powdered sugar are the same thing - there is no difference. It is colloquial on which term is used in recipes.

VeggieGirl said...

I am absolutely in awe of your craftsmanship on that gingerbread house - SPECTACULAR!!

LizzyQ ~ Vegan Mother said...

Coming from a former cake decorator, you did a great job!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I just found your blog and I love it... and that house is AMAZING! (It would make the perfect home for the gingerbread men I just made!)

Happy Herbivore said...

wOAH! very impressive - and beautiful!

VeganLinda said...

I'm so glad I found your blog, but now I have no excuses to not make a gingerbread house! :-) Thanks for the recipe and tips since I have never made one before, but my boys have been begging to do one this year. It looks great!

maybepigscanfly said...

It's even better than I imagined! Haha, as an anal retentive perfectionist myself, I totally can relate to you and think I'll stray from actually constructing my own gingerbread house.

Vegan Dad said...

UPDATE: the gingerbread house really tastes good! We thought we would start to eat the house before it became all dry and nasty, and I am very pleased with the taste. It could be because we are eating the roof which is covered in a protective layer of chocolate wafers and icing, but the gingerbread, while durable enough to hold up to gravity, is soft enough to eat. The royal icing really cemented everything together--I realize now that I used WAY too much on the wall pieces. I also could have much more creative with decorating the walls. Hindsight is 20/20, eh? (Especially when you are hepped up on royal icing and chocolate wafers!)

SaraJane said...

That looks amazing. I've thought of making a gingerbread house from time to time, but like you, I'm way too much of a perfectionist for that.

sageg said...

Oh happy day! I'm a Canadian vegan mom and have been looking for a vegan royal icing. I stumpled on this site because of your chimichangas. :)

Bruce said...

Thanks for this amazing post'
Ginger bread recipes

elbee said...

Hi, this is Lee of I'm glad my icing recipe helped you, and thank you for giving me credit in your blog post.
And your gingerbread house is fantastic.
happy holidays,

Erin said...

This recipe for icing worked perfectly! Thank you!

Los said...

My wife and I used this recipe for a mid-century design:

However, we weren't able to find powdered soy milk for the royal icing. So, we used pre-made vegan icing.


Anonymous said...

Hi Vegan Dad,

Last year, I was planning a "gingerbread house-making competition" with friends. I spent hours trying to find a good vegan gingerbread house recipe, and settled on this one. My wonderful partner and I made 10 batches of your recipe (accompanied by a hand mixer!). Although it was our first time trying to make vegan gingerbread, it was a huge success. I left out the cinnamon to accommodate a friend with a severe allergy to cinnamon, and it still tasted great. We made it the night before and stored it wrapped in plastic in the fridge for 24 hours. An electric mixer was key for that volume.

We used a different vegan icing recipe because we didn't have the ingredients you used. It worked like crazy glue, was beautiful, and didn't run.

Thank you for posting this very successful recipe! It made for a wonderful evening. I plan to do the same again this year, using your gingerbread recipe.

Tropical Girl said...

I have made a gingerbread house using this recipe for the last 3 Christmases and it's been a hit every year. I have never really liked gingerbread but I totally love it now. I am a novice in the kitchen so if I can make this anyone can. PS: Putting it together was tough the first time I did it but once I got the icing right it stayed together and there were no tears :) I look forward to making this years house - it's going to be the biggest one I've made to date :)

Nicole Murphy said...

This is brilliant idea as a 'your new house' cake!! Gonna try and make one!