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How to build a healthy gingerbread house

Looking for a great holiday activity to do with the whole family? Try making this delicious, healthy gingerbread house.

Ingredients:

  • 6 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

  • 3 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1 1/2 cups organic butter

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 3 large free-range eggs

  • 3/4 cup robust, dark molasses 

Step one

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and cardamom.  Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until fluffy. Add sugar, and then add in eggs one at a time. Stir in the molasses, and then in small amounts, add the bowl of dry ingredients to the mix.

Step two

Divide the dough into six equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a rectangle and wrap in parchment paper. Chill until the dough is firm enough to roll, for a minimum of four hours.

Step three

Using a piece of cardboard and a ruler, cut out the panels for your house. You can make your gingerbread house as small or large as you want, but try to make sure you have two matching panels for the roof, two matching panels for the side walls and two matching panels for the front and the back.  

Step four

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with the rack in the center.

Take your dough out of the refrigerator and place in on a fresh piece of parchment paper. Roll out dough to about 1/4".

Place your first template over the top sheet of parchment paper and, using a sharp knife, cut around the template. Slide dough onto flat cookie tray and bake for about 12 minutes.

The dough should be brown on the edges and firm in the center. Remove from oven and place on drying rack to cool. Repeat this process for all sides of the house.

*Make sure your cookie sheets are cool before placing the dough onto them. The sheets can be cooled by running them under cold water. 

The dough needs to be completely cool before constructing the house.

Step five

It’s time to make the icing!

Royal Icing

Ingredients:
4 large free-range eggs
7 cups of confectioners’ sugar

Beat eggs in a medium bowl until foamy. Add 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar during this period, then add the remaining cups of sugar in small increments, mixing until well blended. Beat icing at high speed until is thick and stiff, about 5 minutes. Spoon the icing into pastry bag or large Ziplock freezer bag.

Step six

Now it’s time to decorate. You can use the royal icing for anything:  to draw windows and doors, or as a glue to hold your house together. To make your gingerbread house a little healthier, try to decorate with the items listed below:

  • Dried cranberries

  • Pecans

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Pretzel sticks

  • Banana chips

  • Coconut flakes

  • Dried strawberry fruit strips

  • Popcorn

  • Fresh oregano

Happy holidays!!! 

Check out more helpful, healthful tips from Living Better.

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