Saturday, June 3, 2017

Medieval Gingerbread Castle Façade

This impressive twist on the gingerbread house features a sugar cookie base with gingerbread crumbs and sanding sugar for "dirt" and "grass", cake sparkles for "water" and both royal icing and melted chocolate for glue!

Gingerbread Castle Façade

It's almost over.

After spending many months researching, drafting, crafting, rehearsing, singing and cooking, the curtains go up on our year end play - which I (sometimes not so) fondly consider my year end play - this Monday. Looking back on everything my co-teacher, my mom and I have done since February when I started writing the script, it still seems impossible that we have all the pieces for a successful dinner theatre on hand.

One of the elements of our meal that was going to be part of the show was this Medieval Gingerbread Castle Façade. While already impressively large, the full recipe for the castle was about 7 times larger and incorporated more walls, towers and a drawbridge! As it was, creating this "façade" took many weeks to put together - each wall section was hand cut with (dedicated) pottery tools, "glued" together with brown royal icing and melted chocolate, decorated with sprinkles and sanding sugar to make "ivy" and "moss" and finally attached to the sugar cookie base. The base was then scattered with gingerbread crumbs and sanding sugar for "dirt" and "grass" and cake sparkles for "water".

IMG_20170204_154804_477

While I never proclaim to be a professional anything, I am quite proud of this construction. Not only does it look like it belongs in the "ye olde" era, it tastes delicious too - and since it's glazed with a confectioner's "shellac" (vodka and corn syrup) it takes a long time to stale. Good thing too, since unless you're feeding a Great Hall plowing through this much cookie will take a while!

If you noticed, I said this castle was going to be part of our show. Truth is, it was simply too much work to put together even the façade, and the completed piece would be bigger than any cookie sheet or cake board I own. Instead, I kept this castle as a showpiece and made little pastries for our dessert instead. You'll see that recipe sometime soon, since it was a hit with both friends and family who taste tested my trials!

IMG_20170212_141545

Medieval Gingerbread Castle Façade
Makes 1 medium-sized castle façade, about 24 servings
1/3 cup boiling water
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
2 cups flour
1 cup barley flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
pinch ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 tube Pillsbury sugar cookie dough (or 1 batch of your favourite sugar cookie recipe)
~ 1/2 cup royal icing (I tinted mine brown with a teaspoon of cocoa), OR use melted chocolate (not as sturdy)
Sprinkles, etc for decorating
2 tbsp vodka
2 tbsp corn syrup 

For Gingerbread:
  1. Heat the oven to 375F.
  2. In a large bowl combine water, shortening and sugars. Microwave on HI until melted.
  3. Add the molasses and honey and mix well.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
  5. Place a sheet of parchment on a work surface and roll out the dough to 1/4" thick.
  6. Cut along the lines in this template, scaled to 1/3 the size. Leave dough in one sheet.
  7. Transfer parchment to a large cookie sheet.
  8. Bake 16 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and immediately re-score along the cut marks.
  10. Cool completely, then gently break into pieces along the lines.
  11. Grind leftover cookies for decorating "sand".
Base:
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Roll out the sugar cookie dough on a sheet of parchment and place on a cookie sheet.
  3. Bake 20 minutes. Let cool completely.
Assembly:
  1. Use royal icing to "glue" the pieces together (you can also sprinkle with green jimmies for "ivy", etc). Let dry overnight.
  2. Whisk together the vodka and corn syrup and brush all over the sugar cookie sheet.
  3. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, cake sparkles and ground gingerbread to create a landscape.
  4. Attach castle pieces with remaining royal icing. Allow to dry completely.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 235.8
Total Fat: 7.8 g
Cholesterol: 5.8 mg
Sodium: 117.5 mg
Total Carbs: 36.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
Protein: 2.6 g