The tradition

This is my favorite recipe for gingerbread cookies, a traditional Norwegian (Scandinavian) Christmas treat. I have to warn you, this is not healthy food, it’s got all of the calories, lots of sugar and fat and kids LOVE them!

Every year by the end of November, I ask myself, will I manage to make the Gingerbread house in time? The time before Xmas is as you know, SO incredibly busy and I have lots of little traditions that I love, but it’s always a race to get it all done.

Luckily, up till now, I have managed to make gingerbread cookies and -house (once even a fancy church) every year for the last 15 years. My son’s birthday is in December, and our tradition is to make it before Dec. 1st and destroy and eat the house during his birthday party a few weeks later. It has been and still is a very popular party activity and his birthdays are locally famous for this.

It may seem complicated to design, build (glue) and decorate a house like this, but it’s actually not difficult at all. It just takes some patience and a few hours of your time. Just make sure you use the right measures, the right ingredients, and the right “glue”.

I can advise you to have a grown-up assistant to help you when assembling the house with melted sugar. It’s good to have an extra pair of hands to hold the pieces together while adding the “glue”. The melted sugar gets VERY hot, so don’t do this with your kids. Kids are perfect helpers for cutting out the cookies and decorating them though. This year I had a very good helper for this; my daughter, who is becoming quite the cookie expert. My teenaged boys are more interested in the eating these days…..

The recipe

Ingredients

3 dl light syrup or molasses
450 g sugar
450 g butter
3 dl cream
1,5 ts ground cloves
1,5 ts ground ginger
1,5 ts ground pepper
6 ts ground cinnamon
3 ts baking powder
1-1,2 kg flour

Instructions

Melt molasses, sugar and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Mix until sugar is melted. Let it cool down for a few minutes. Add cream and spices and mix well.

Add flour (including the baking powder) bit by bit. I prefer using a food processor for this as the dough is big. If your saucepan is big enough to take all the ingredients and you feel strong enough to do it by hand, that’s fine too. Stop adding flour when the dough feels like it slips the bowl (or saucepan if you’re mixing it all in the saucepan). Divide the dough into smaller portions (3 or 4), and wrap the dough portions in plastic. Leave it in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Roll out and cut shapes with cookie cutters. If you’re making a gingerbread house, start with cutting out the biggest pieces first. All the leftover dough can be used for cookies.

Bake at 200 degrees c (about 350 F), 6 – 8 min. Cookies should be light brown.

When cookies are fully cooled and hard, you can assemble the house with melted sugar and decorate with icing (4 dl confectioner’s sugar and 1 egg white) and sweets. Maybe you can get some inspiration below.

Assembly of the gingerbread house

Glue house together with melted sugar. It’s the best glue, but be VERY careful it’s HOT HOT HOT and quite dangerous if you have kids around. It also hardens almost immediately, so you have to work incredibly fast.

If you have never done this before and you find it a bit intimidating, you might want to watch this video about how to melt sugar.

Related Steller stories with recipes

Below you can find a Steller story with the gingerbread recipe and images of a house from another year. If you use the Stellerstories app, it’s easy to save the recipe for later and you’ll have it right there on your phone. You’ll also find some other Xmas related Steller stories with recipes.

Let me know if you try this recipe.