I looked at the dog one day in December and thought, “You know what you need, Mo? A doghouse made out of gingerbread”. You know, just your normal everyday thought process.
Obviously, I’m not the only one around who is willing to construct gingerbread doghouses so here’s my recipe for building the above mentioned Vegan Gingerbread Doghouse.
2/3 cup vegan butter, at room temperature. (My resident vegan prefers Earth Balance)
2 cups packed brown sugar (Go ahead and get generic, I won’t judge…unless it’s that Wal-Mart brand)
2 cups sweet molasses (No one ever knows where this is but it’s in the syrup section. You’re welcome)
1.5 cups of water (Glacier melted ice water purified in a “green” facility built from sustainable virgin forest wood is best, but plain ole tap will do as well. I guess)
12 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking soda
1.5 tsp. kosher salt (It really doesn’t have to be kosher. I thought it might make this recipe sound fancier if I threw that in)
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cloves
Vegan Royal Icing Recipe
2 lbs confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup powdered soy milk (I just get the soy protein powder in the bulk food bin. Same thing)
12 cups soy milk (almond or rice milk works as well)
12 tbsp light corn syrup
1 rectangular cardboard box that is able to fit your dog
2 boxes of graham crackers (I use one box for the house while eating another box, I assume you will probably do the same)
1 large flat cardboard piece that’s big enough to form a “roof” for your doghouse
Stale trail mixes, candies, fruit. Whatever is colorful and abundant and has been sitting in your pantry since last year
Step 1: You’re going to have to wake up for this.
Step 2: Put down the Bloody Mary. Ok, now we can start.
Step 3: In a large bowl, mix together the vegan butter, brown sugar, molasses and 1 cup of water. No need for a fancy KitchenAid mixer when you have a Czech man. I told him to channel his inner kolache making skills.
Step 4: In another large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice. Helpful Tip: I know it says “all-purpose flour” but seriously, who has 12 cups of that stuff lying around? I just use whatever is in my pantry that resembles flour (as long as it’s not self-rising). Spelt, wheat, rye, rice…go ahead, clean out that pantry.
Step 5: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Then add a little bit of water to make a dough. Not too mushy and not too dry, is the key. You want it to feel like Play-Doh. Not the one that’s been sitting out drying because you were too lazy to put it back in the can. The freshly opened variety.
Step 6: Form your Play-Doh inspired gingerbread dough into eight equal balls. Wrap each dough with (here comes the product placement) Saran wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.
Step 7: Preheat the oven to 350º. You can now line some baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly grease it. Helpful Tip: Forego the parchment and use Silpat. It creates miracles.
Step 8: Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Unwrap one ball of dough at a time and roll each out to about 1/4 of an inch.
Cut it out to the shape you want it and tap the surface with a pair of chopsticks (so the dough doesn’t bubble up when baking). Remember to cut it out in exact measurement to your cardboard box.
Step 9: Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the surface is firm to the touch. You should probably stop opening the oven door while it bakes.
Step 10: Transfer baked sheets onto a wire rack and let cool. Go ahead and send out that text. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo should have a new episode as well.
Step 11: Since it was a vegan gingerbread house, it was a little bit softer than the regular recipe so I used a box for structural reinforcement. Cut out peaks to either side of your box using the flaps on opposing sides, and then tape down the rest of the flaps.
Step 12: Mix together all of the ingredients for the vegan royal icing. It doesn’t matter in what order. Don’t let anyone tell you that it does. It doesn’t.
Step 13: Using a brush, I adhered each panel of gingerbread to its corresponding area on the cardboard box.
Step 14: Cut out the cardboard roof, making sure to let it hang over the sides a bit.
Step 15: I later added graham crackers to the cardboard to make the roof shingles since it resembles the real stuff. But more importantly, I ran out of flour for the gingerbread recipe and was too lazy to go buy more.
Helpful Tip: Use a piping bag for thin beads of icing, use a brush for heavy duty adhesion.
Step 16: Start sorting through your candy/fruit/nuts. Again, I just use up random stuff in my pantry. Like the cranberries I bought two months prior from a cranberry bog because I was peer pressured into buying two gallons of the fruit by a beagle loving cranberry farmer.
Helpful Tip: I also decorated some of the individual sheets of graham crackers to use later as windows. To attach the windows to the house itself, I added icing to the backing and held it into place with toothpicks. Take out the toothpicks when the icing is hardened.
Step 17: Vegan royal icing is super strong but runnier than regular icing. It did the job but was messier than I anticipated. The dog appreciated the drips of sugar on the floor though.
Helpful Tip: Try to work on one side at a time and let the icing completely harden before moving onto another side. With all the sitting around time you have while waiting for it to dry, now might be a good time to restock your liquor cabinet.
Step 1 (I know this is the second Step 1 but after restocking the liquor cabinet, I’ve lost count, sorry): I picked up a tub of that pre-made frosting while I was buying alcohol. I made sure it was the vegan-approved variety though. Get the super white one. You want it to look like snow. Put some of that good stuff into a piping bag and pipe away. I made icicles with it, cause I’m fancy like that.
Side view of the gingerbread doghouse.
Mo waiting for her house to be done like every other impatient new homeowner.
Done! Four days and a few bottles of wine later.
To make it into a doghouse, I needed to saw a door through it but didn’t have the heart to poke a hole through the front since I had spent so much time on it. So, I sawed a hole through the roof instead. If the roof is good enough for Santa and his seven dwarves or eight reindeers or whatever he has, it’s certainly good enough for our dog, Mo.
Getting in a few good licks.
Crazy eyes pop out for sugar.
Leaving the sugar alone once we threatened to toss her out without her collar if she didn’t stop eating her new house.
Best dog ever. We intend to charge her mortgage payments within 30 days of move-in though.