Guest Post, Fed and Fit: Paleo Gingerbread House

Today we are joined by the beautiful Cassandra Joy of Fed and Fit. Cassandra’s blog is full of great paleo recipes and lots of stunningly beautiful photography. We are so happy that she has decided to share this step-by-step instructional of a Paleo Gingerbread House! This looks like such a fun project, our boys have already begged us to make one! Plus, those nutrient-rich Gumdrops are calling our names! **We would like to mention that Cassandra’s Gluten Free, All Natural Royal Icing does contain powdered sugar. Yes. We are aware. You don’t need to point it out. And Paleo Police need not stop by. Read our post on Sugar if you want our thoughts, but quite simply this is a treat. It is for the process of creating memories in the kitchen with loved ones. We do not recommend eating it frequently or in large quantities. However, it’s important to understand that the sugar is essential to making Royal Icing because it is the “glue” that holds the gingerbread house together! Instead of eating the icing during construction, just munch on some extra Gumdrops instead!**

 ♥♥♥

Howdy to all you fabulous Paleo Parents! I am just so thrilled to be here. Somebody pinch me! I’ve admired Stacy and Matt’s work for a long time and am honored to contribute a little Paleo-friendly seasonal baking love. Among my passions for nutrition, delicious food, lifestyle transformations, and feeding people, I have a passion for instruction! I love showing how something is made. It’s my belief that new cooking methods {like Paleo!} are much less intimidating when you can see exactly how it’s done. I also believe that for every gluten, preservative, and toxin-filled food available, there’s a Paleo alternative just waiting to be discovered. I tasked myself with a gingerbread house to contribute to the cause!

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I hope you love this recipe and find my step-by-step photo instructions helpful. There are three major steps involved: Paleo-friendly gumdrops, incredibly tasty gingerbread, and an all-natural royal icing. You can take this recipe as far as you want! Go for the full-blown 2-3 day homemade candy and gingerbread house experience or just use the dough to make cookies! Either way, I support you 100%.

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Now let’s get to work! These are all the players in our Paleo-friendly gumdrops. We’ll walk through each step and ingredient one at a time and then at the bottom of this post, you can find the summarized recipe. For this example, we’re going to make pink gumdrops! I also made purple, yellow and green {ingredients for these will all be listed below}. Regardless of the flavor, we’ll need one cup of fruit or vegetables. I chose a mixture of strawberries and cranberries. Put the fruit into a blender. Add 1-2 Tbs of maple syrup – adjust with more or less depending on your taste.We’ll also need 1 cup of liquid. I used a mixture of approximately ¼ cup lemon juice and ¾ cup water. Use all water if you don’t like sour candies. Gelatin is the magical and incredibly healing ingredient. You will need THIS kind for these gummies to work. I promise this won’t be a one-purpose purchase. You will find yourself using this gelatin for a lot of really fun projects. Have you seen these cute little ice cube trays? We’re going to use them to mold our gumdrops! I found this one HERE. If you don’t have one of these trays, you could also just pour the liquid fruit mixture into a plastic wrap-lined baking dish. Let it set in the fridge overnight then use a small circular cookie cutter {or maybe even a ring?} to cut little discs.

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If you’re using the ice cube tray, pipe the fruit mixture into each little opening.

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Scrape off the tops. And then put this puppy into the freezer! Note that this recipe will make about 120 gumdrops {WOW that’s a lot} so either half the recipe or snack to your hearts desire. They’re healthy after all!

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After the gumdrops have set in the freezer overnight, pop them out then store in an open-air container in the refrigerator. On the day you make your gingerbread house, pull the gumdrops out of the refrigerator so that they can crisp and dehydrate a bit on the counter – dryness will help them stick to the frosting.   Now let’s make the actual gingerbread! Follow the recipe for the gingerbread below and take your dough and plop it onto a few sheets of plastic wrap {parchment paper would work too}. Wrap it up and place it in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight. We want it nice and firm before we start cutting our cookies.

Paleo Gingerbread House Blueprint _ Fed+FitClick photo to be taken to a larger version you can print

While the dough is firming in the refrigerator, make your cookie stencils! You can use the dimensions here on paper or use them to trace onto a poster board.

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The gingerbread cookie rolling Mise en Place! We’ve got our chilled dough, the cookie stencils, a rolling pin, and a bowl of arrowroot flour {our saving grace}. Throw some arrowroot flour onto a large piece of parchment paper. Put the cold dough on top.Then sprinkle with more arrowroot.

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Roll into a ball {using as much arrowroot as you need}. Flatten with your hands a bit, then roll until it’s about ¼“ thick. Make sure it’s well dusted with arrowroot! Sticky cookies aren’t much fun.

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Place your cutouts on the dough in any arrangement that works. If you can’t fit them all in on the first go, no worries! You’ll get ‘em on the next.

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Using a knife, trace each stencil.

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  Pull the non-cookie dough away from the cut pieces. From here, carefully move each piece onto a new piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Roll the leftover dough out and cut your remaining pieces. When you’ve got all the pieces on their baking sheet, I recommend you take your original stencils and reform any that are misshapen.

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Time for the oven! Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.

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Done! Let them cool completely before you move any pieces. Once they’re cooled, carefully transfer them to a wire cooling rack so that they can cool and harden over night.   It’s finally here. Gingerbread house day! We made our gumdrops, we made our house pieces, and now it’s time to make the frosting! Note: royal icing is usually made with a powdered meringue powder that’s packed full of non-intelligible ingredients. Egg whites make a great substitute. We’re going to use organic powdered sugar for this frosting. While the refined sugar isn’t a health product, its ability to make a royal frosting is completely unmatched.

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If your kitchen looks this messy, you’re doing something right.

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It’s finally done! Perfect frosting.

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Spoon some of it into a bowl if you want to color it.  I put a few drops of all-natural food coloring onto about ½ cup of frosting to make green frosting for the trees.

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Start frosting!

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Add decorations as you go – especially before the frosting dries. The Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips make great decorations if you don’t want to make gumdrops. Time to make the house! Choose your plate or platter and lay out the pieces so you have an idea of where it will go.

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Lay one line of frosting.

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Place the first piece in the middle of the line and hold until it’s able to stand on its own. This should take between 30 and 60 seconds. Lay an adjoining piece by piping frosting on the plate and along the side of the original piece.

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Continue with the next, then the final piece. Scrape off any large clumps of leftover frosting and don’t worry if it looks messy … A) this is just for fun and B) we can always cover it up with more frosting.

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Pipe a generous amount of frosting along the roofline.

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Then place the roof pieces on top and hold into place until they’re set. This will probably take about 2 minutes. Using a star tip, pipe the frosting over all seams.

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Using a small circular tip, decorate the roof, doors, and windows.

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Add the gumdrops! I cut mine in half so that they wouldn’t stick out as much. How cute is THAT?!

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I love it so much. Paleo Gingerbread House _ Fed+Fit-96 Pipe some frosting on the plate for your other decorations.

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Adorable! I hope you have the absolute BEST time making your own Paleo gingerbread house and be sure to share pictures on Instagram and Facebook!  

Paleo Gumdrops

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh fruit and vegetables
  • --Pink Gumdrops: strawberries & cranberries
  • --Purple Gumdrops: blueberries
  • --Yellow Gumdrops: mango
  • --Green Gumdrops: green apple and spinach
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup lemon juice {optional, use water if you don’t like sour}
  • 5 Tbs gelatin

Instructions

  1. Blend all ingredients together and either pipe into a gumdrop-shaped ice cube tray or pour onto a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet.
  2. If using an ice tray, freeze overnight then break out of mold. Store in an uncovered container in the refrigerator until day of use.
  3. If using a baking sheet, let set in refrigerator overnight then cut circles out and store in an uncovered container in the refrigerator until day of use.
  4. On house construction day, place on counter so that they completely dry which will help them adhere to the frosting.
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Paleo Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Whisk all dry ingredients together and in a separate bowl, whisk all the wet. Add the wet to the dry and stir until evenly combined. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper and set in refrigerator to cool and harden for either 4 hours or overnight.
  2. On a large piece of parchment paper well dusted with arrowroot flour, start rolling out the dough until it’s ¼” thick. Use gingerbread house stencils to measure and cut pieces. Carefully place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Resize with stencils on baking sheet if necessary.
  3. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheet before moving. When cooled, transfer to a wire baking rack to cool and firm overnight.
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Gluten Free and All Natural Royal Icing

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. On high speed, whisk the egg whites and lemon juice together until they form a thick foam. On low speed, carefully add spoonfuls of the 3 cups of powdered sugar until all is combined. Turn speed up to high and whisk for 6 minutes.
  2. Transfer to piping bag, color in bowls, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
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  About Me _ Fed+FitMy name is Cassandra Joy. I’m a Texas native with a traveler’s heart. After decades of health-leeching diets, I stumbled upon the Paleo lifestyle and made it my home. I launched my blog, Fed & Fit, during the Summer of 2011 in an effort to share my recipes for healthy living and healing foods with the world. Paleo gave me my life back and I’m on a mission to empower others in their own transformation. I’m a Nutrition Consultant student, food lover, red wine enthusiast, accidental photographer, cook, occasional baker, and mamma to the big white dog, Gus.  Connect with Cassandra Joy:

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  • http://www.thekoshercavegirl.blogspot.com/ Kosher Cave Girl

    This looks so yummy! I can’t wait to try making one this winter!

  • glutenfreeeasily

    What a terrific tutorial! Can’t wait to share this link in an upcoming gingerbread roundup post on my All Gluten-Free Desserts site! :-)
    Shirley

  • Julie Cattabiani

    Is that absolutely the only gelatin that will work? I just came across this and will never get it in time for christmas if I order online. It doesn’t look like there are any stores that sell that brand?

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      This was from a guest poster, and she said that only that kind of gelatin will work, so we assume she means it. Different gelatin have different strengths, and only the grassfed gelatin will offer the great health benefits. It is also the only kind of gelatin we eat too, so we can attest to its high quality.

  • Christina Macy

    So i looked around online, because my son can’t have any kind of refined sugar at all and i wanted to try this out :) And found a recipe for coconut palm powdered sugar! Take 1c of coconut sugar, and 1 tbsp arrowroot powder and blend in a blender or food processor until powdery like powdered sugar. Haven’t tried it yet but i have done plain coconut sugar in a blender and that worked pretty well. The arrowroot powder will give it more body though! The icing won’t be white though just a warning… could always color it :D

  • Markus

    looks delicious, could I move by to eat :)
    This christmas I’ll try it