It took two weeks and seven people to create their award-winning design at the Gingerbread Gallery in Syracuse's Erie Canal Museum -- but the hard work paid off: The Gingersnap Bakery in Phoenix, N.Y., won first place in the confectioner's category. Now they are sharing their recipe and helpful tips with ABCNews.com so you can make your own gingerbread creation at home.
To Make the Gingerbread:
Mix together in a microwave safe bowl:
1 Cup Lite Corn Syrup
1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Vegetable Shortening
Heat together in a microwave oven until the shortening melts and becomes creamy. Stir halfway through, combining ingredients. Heat again until mixture is nice and smooth.
In a separate bowl mix together:
4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Ground Ginger
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
Combine two sets of ingredients together. Mix well. Roll out dough about a half an inch thick. Cut into desired shapes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
To Make the Icing:
3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
4 Cups Powdered Sugar
Mix together so meringue powder is evenly distributed.
Whip with mixer:
6 Tablespoons cool water, adding a little at a time. If the icing needs to be thinner add more water, if it needs to be thicker, add less.
Icing should be stiff and fluffy.
Tips From the Pros:
If you're making the gingerbread to eat, and not to build, you may not want to cut back on the cooking time so it's a bit softer. However, if you're planning on making a house of your own, Anne Pellegrino, Owner of the Gingersnap Bakery, says the firmer the better.
If you want to tint the color of your icing, Pellegrino recommends using gels or paste food dyes, as liquid food coloring can thin out your icing.
If you want to create stained glass windows for your house, try this: when cutting the shapes in your dough, cut out a hole for a window. Remove the dough from the window cutout. Then, take different colored clear hard candies (such as butterscotch or sourballs), and crush them into little chunks in a plastic bag. Next, take your crushed candy pieces and lay them in the hole you cut out for your window. Bake the gingerbread as normal and watch the hard candies melt into different patterns. When your dough cools, the hard candy will too, and you'll have a beautiful stained glass window for your gingerbread house.
If you plan on making something really involved, Pellegrino advises to first make your creation out of cardboard or cardstock. Once you tape it all together and are pleased with your design, disassemble it and use the cardboard cutouts as patterns for your gingerbread dough. Then, after you bake it, you already know all the pieces will be the right size.
Sometimes using a pizza cutter instead of a knife can make the job easier. Or, if the gingerbread will not be eaten, you can use sandpaper to sand off the corners (once cooled) of the gingerbread to help the pieces fit together better.