I have an ugly holiday confession to make: I really don’t like gingerbread.
So when I saw Anthropologie’s fabulous little mug toppers, I knew I had to recreate them in gluten free form. But what to do about the despised molasses flavor?
My mom is Dutch, so why not pay homage to that with Speculoos-flavored houses? Or better yet, a house on a larger scale?
After I was finished patting myself on the back, I got down to work and dug up a gluten free gingerbread recipe. A few tweaks served my purpose; the rest, as they say, is history.
My sister Rachel helped me decorate these. She definitely has the steadier hand. The picture doesn’t quite do it justice.
For the houses:
Makes 1 large Dutch house and 12 little houses, or many, many little houses.
2 2/3 cup white rice flour
1 1 /3 cup brown rice flour
1 1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca starch
4 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp molasses
3 tbsp water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Crushed peppermint candies
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
In a very large bowl mix together rice flours, potato and tapioca starches, and xanthan gum. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Add ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pepper, cardamom, baking soda and salt. Whisk until combined.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and molasses until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated and when you add the last egg, also add the vanilla and water.
Add the flour in increments on medium speed until a dough forms.
Divide the dough into three pieces and roll one out onto a sheet of parchment paper. 1/8-inch thick for tiny houses, and 1/4-inch for the large house.
Lay the templates on top of the dough. Cut them out using a paring knife and remove the scrap pieces, leaving the gingerbread house pieces in place. (The sides of the small houses are easily transferable.) Transfer the dough along with the parchment paper to the cookie sheets.
Bake on center shelf, 5-7 minutes for little pieces, 9-12 for the large pieces. Allow baked pieces to cool on cookie sheet for 10 – 15 minutes. Using a thin spatula, gently loosen each cookie from the baking sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. They should be cold to the touch/room temperature.
For royal icing:
2 2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp meringue powder
1/4 cup water
In mixer fitted with whisk attachment, blend powdered sugar and meringue powder on stir setting. Add water and increase speed to medium. Beat for 7-10 minutes. Transfer to piping bag fitted with #2 round tip. Cover what remains in the bowl with a damp towel.
For the cottages:
Lay two of the gables front down and pipe two lines of royal icing on the outer edges. Stick the walls (the smaller rectangles) into the icing, straight up, on one end, and set the other gable down on top. Press together gently and stand upright.
You can pipe around the edges of the roof piece, or you can go around the top of the walls. Either way will work. Put the roof (two of the larger rectangles) on top and press together gently.
You can pipe the decor on before assembly or after. The roof is no harder either way, but the windows were more difficult. Just be sure to let the frosting set up before you do anything with the houses after piecing them together. Top with crushed peppermint candies.
The Dutch Christmas House:
Pipe royal icing onto the roof pieces, side walls, and the front end. Leave the back undecorated. Lay it face down on a platter or a covered board and pipe a thick line of icing onto where the dotted lines are on the template.
Attach the roof first, along the vaulted line shown in the template, (it may overlap the curve a little) and then the walls, so the your house is upended with no front. Allow to dry for 30-45 minutes. Pipe another line icing around the edges of the walls which face up and add the front. You can stand the structure up before or after this step.
Then decorate the back side, add icing swags, and finish off the rest of the decorating.
I don’t know why I didn’t take any pictures. Sorry. I guess I’ll just have to make more sometime. 😛