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Hexenhaus - Gingerbread House Recipe
Hexenhaus - Gingerbread House
Johann Lafer, Johann Lafer's Stromburg, Allemagne
Johann Lafer, Johann Lafer's Stromburg, Allemagne
Flavors of Germany
Total time: 1hr to 2hr

Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F)
Prep. time: 15 minutes + 1 hour or more
Waiting time: 24 hours
Cooking time: Under 30 minutes
Will keep for 6 weeks

Difficulty: Average
Chef's Note


Every family constructs a Hexenhaus out of gingerbread that will stay on the table until Christmas. This is the "witch's house" that has its origin in the tale of Hansel and Gretel. Everyone breaks off a little piece and the house gradually crumbles as it is nibbled away by numerous friends and relatives.

Lebkuchen Spice Mix
It is a mixture of wonderful aromatic spices, including: Cinnamon, Cloves, Allspice and Nutmeg. It is traditionaly used for baking Gingerbread (Lebkuchen).

Hartshorn Salt
Hirschhornsalz - known in English as Hartshorn, Ammonium Bicarbonate or Carbonate of Ammonia. You will find this product required for many of old European and German baking recipes, like Gingerbread cookies, Biscotti, flat cookies and more.

700 g (1 lb. 9 oz.) honey

- 200 g (1 cup) sugar
- 220 ml (7/8 cup) butter
- 2 eggs
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 2 packets of Lebkuchen spice*
- 1 kg (2 1/4 lb.) flour
- 10 g (2 tsp.) Hartshorn salt (ammonium carbonate)*
- 5-6 tbsp. milk
- 4 g (1 tsp.) potassium carbonate*

- 2 egg whites
- 300 g (3 cups) icing sugar
- 6 drops of lemon juice
- The scraped seeds from a vanilla bean

- A little flour for the work surface
- Icing sugar
- Red leaf gelatin
- Various candies
- Flaked almonds
  1. In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, warm the honey, sugar and butter together, stirring often until the sugar has dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.


  2. Add the eggs, lemon zest, cocoa powder and spice and mix with a whisk. Add the flour to the mixture and blend thoroughly.


  3. In a cup, dissolve the hartshorn salt in 3-4 tbsp. milk and the potash in the remaining milk. Knead the mixtures into the dough.


  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let stand for 24 hours at room temperature. The next day, knead the dough quickly and roll it out on a floured board to a thickness of 1-2 mm.


  5. Cut the stencil shapes for the house out of cardboard and assemble them to check that the pieces fit correctly. You will need a rectangular base, two triangular gables and two rectangular roof pieces. Use a knife to cut all these pieces out of the rolled out lebkuchen dough.


  6. The remaining parts can be used however you wish to create the chimney, doors, window shutters and trees. Place all the parts on a baking sheet layered with parchment paper and bake in a preheated 180° C (350° F) oven for 5-10 minutes.


  7. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites for the icing until foamy. Add the sifted icing sugar and beat until it becomes thick and smooth. Mix in the lemon juice and vanilla pulp.


  8. Allow the baked building components to cool and then assemble them with the icing. Use the red gelatin sheets as windowpanes. Use your own imagination in using the candies to decorate the house.


  9. It is best to wrap the gingerbread house in attractive cellophane, whether you plan to keep it or give it as a gift. In this way it will keep for five to six weeks.
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