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Gingerbread house frosting can be made in a variety of flavors, but some of the most common are chocolate, vanilla, and cream cheese. The icing is sometimes enhanced using sugar sprinkles, chocolate chips, or bits of dried fruit or nuts. Regardless of the flavor used, one of the most important aspects of any gingerbread house frosting is the consistency. Gingerbread house cakes are so ornamental that the frosting typically acts as a type of glue to hold everything in place. Icings with high density can be made using either butter or eggs as the base ingredients.
Egg-based frostings are considered a bit more difficult to execute, and as a result, they are not as popular as those using butter as a base. Both generally work equally well, as long as the recipe is followed closely and the proper utensils are used. Food coloring can be added to either, but butter-based frosting is better suited to heavier additives such as fruit, nuts, or candied chips.
The two main ingredients of egg-based gingerbread house frosting are egg whites and powdered sugar. Most recipes call for two egg whites and several cups (little more than a liter) of the sugar. Using a whisk, egg whites should be blended, and the powdered sugar gradually added in. When the mixture forms stiff peaks, the icing is ready to spread. There may be some health concerns associated with using raw eggs, so some cooks prefer to replace fresh egg whites with albumen powder.
Frostings made with butter as a base are often referred to as buttercream. This is the type of icing that most people think of when referring to old fashioned icing. To make a basic buttercream base, it is necessary to have mixing bowls and a mixer, as well as measuring cups and spoons. Ingredients include butter, cream, and powdered sugar. Many recipes also call for the addition of a pinch of salt and flavoring extracts such as vanilla or almond.
Most buttercream recipes start with a stick of slightly softened butter. Using an electric mixer, the powdered sugar should be added in gradually, along with about a little bit of cream. If flavoring extracts are used, they should be added along with the cream. The mixture should be beaten until smooth, and over-beating should be avoided. When the icing is smooth, any fruits, nuts, or candy additives can be stirred in.
Other than vanilla-flavored icing, chocolate and cream cheese flavors are probably the two most popular choices for gingerbread house frosting. Chocolate buttercream icing can be made by using the basic buttercream recipe and adding cocoa powder. For gingerbread house icing with a cream cheese flavor, the same buttercream ingredients are used, except an equal amount of cream cheese is substituted for the butter.