Solar-Powered Gingerbread House
How to Make a Solar-Powered Gingerbread House
So how do you make a gingerbread house that will have the lowest carbon impact on the ginger-environment? Let’s start with the basics: Building a gingerbread house with solar panels. This recipe is provided by our friends at King Arthur Flour, a fellow B Corp.
☐ 6 tbsp butter
☐ 3/4 cups buttermilk
☐ 1 cup brown sugar
☐ 1/2 cup molasses
☐ 1 large egg
☐ 5 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
☐ 1 tsp baking soda
☐ 1 tsp ground ginger
☐ 1 tsp ground cinnamon
☐ 1/2 tsp salt
☐ 3 egg whites
☐ 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
☐ 4 cups unsifted confectioners’ sugar
☐ Food coloring as desired
To make the dough
1. In a large saucepan, heat the buttermilk and butter until the butter is just melted; remove from the heat.
2. Add the brown sugar and molasses, then beat in the egg.
3. Whisk the baking soda, spices, and salt with 1 cup of the flour.
4. Add this to the wet mixture and incorporate.
5. Add flour 1 cup at a time until you have a smooth, stiff dough. It should be stiff enough to be flexible, and neither crumbly nor sticky.
6. Divide the dough in half, flatten each half, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
7. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 8. Using a quarter of the dough at a time (return the unused portion to the refrigerator), roll the dough 1/8” thick on a piece of parchment.
9. Cut your construction pieces as needed, pulling away the scraps to be re-rolled. Transfer the dough, parchment and all, to a baking sheet.
10. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until set and very lightly browned at the edges.
11. Remove from the oven and trim any rough edges while the pieces are still warm. Cool completely before using for construction.
To make the royal icing
1. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy.
2. Sprinkle in the sugar gradually, whipping all the while. The more you whip the icing, the stiffer it’ll be and the faster it’ll harden up.
3. Cover the bowl of icing, taking out only as much as you’ll need immediately. The easiest way to store the icing for long periods of time is in a plastic pastry bag, or zip-top food storage bag.
How to make solar panels for your gingerbread house
Be creative! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Melt blue peppermints, Jolly Ranchers, or another blue candy into squares
- Use blue and white frosting to “paint” the panels onto your ginger roof.
- Cut something sticky, like a Stroopwaffle, into rectangles and cover them in edible, colored glitter dust
- Place Hershey Bars on the ginger roof, then soften the chocolate with heat and add blue sugar dust.
Add clean technology to your gingerbread house
Want to get bonus points? Integrate other sustainable, carbon-saving technologies into your gingerbread house design. Here’s a list of our favorite sustainable tech!
Cold Climate Heat Pumps
Cold Climate Heat Pumps draw heat from the environment and moves it indoors to heat your home in the winter months. In the summer months it moves the heat outdoors to cool your home. Heat pumps are incredible efficiency – eliminating the need for burning fuel oil, reducing your environmental impact.
Tesla Powerwall Battery Storage
Wouldn’t it be great if we could take all the solar power generated from our solar panels and store it for later use? That’s exactly what the Tesla Powerwall does. Combined with on-site solar, this battery system gives homeowners peace of mind in the case of a power outage.
Geothermal Heating and Cooling
Geothermal energy is derived from the heat of the earth, and can be used to heat and cool homes. A home geothermal system is on a loop of circulated water buried deep underground, below the freeze line. In winter months, the water circulating absorbs the heat from the earth and is converted into heat for your home. 100% Emission Free. Pretty cool, right?
A well insulated home can reduce energy consumption simply by keeping warm air in, and cold air out. Not all insulation is eco-friendly, so if you are considering an upgrade, take a second to read up on what the most sustainable materials are. Some really great recycled options are shredded denim and cork.
Windows often account for the most significant amount of energy loss in a home and upgrading to insulated windows can help to reduce that loss. Traditional single-pane windows are often drafty and heat transfer can happen easily. Insulated, double pane windows provide an extra barrier to the outdoors and can significantly improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Nearly half of the solid waste produced globally is organic or biodegradable, however much of it ends up in landfills and produces the greenhouse gas methane. Composting at home can be an easy, and affordable way to make your home a little more sustainable.
Electric Vehicle and Charger
When charged with electricity from renewable sources, electric vehicles (EVs) are emissions free. With environmental benefits aside, federal and state incentives make EVs an attractive option when considering your next car purchase.
Residential Wind Power
Imagine the huge large-scale wind turbine, but shrunk down to fit at a home!