Since I arrived back home yesterday, and with only 3 more days until Christmas, I’ve been feeling more and more festive, and couldn’t think of a better way to spend my first day back in the kitchen finishing off my Christmas baking 🙂 Today has been spent constructing the gingerbread house (after decorating it yesterday) and finalising the Christmas cake with it’s royal icing layer, which I will be sharing with you all very soon!
So, my gingerbread house… I absolutely LOVE gingerbread and think gingerbread houses look so cute, I couldn’t wait to try this out! BUT, I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be as difficult as it was to build the house: I forgot to trim the edges of the individual parts once they came out of the oven, so it wasn’t as accurate as I’d hoped! But after a lot of preservation and royal icing getting EVERYWHERE it managed to stay together and keep together (fingers crossed it holds out until Wednesday…)
I love how with this bake, you can be really individual when it comes to the design and use whatever sweets or pattern takes you fancy, so let your creative juices run wild! I used a BBC Good Food recipe (with slight amendments) and the templates I used can be found here.
I made my dough up in advanced and kept it frozen for two weeks until I needed it and it kept fine and tasted just as good as when used fresh, so if anyone is short for time then I’d definitely recommend doing that! This is a great bake for doing as a family or with children, so I hope you enjoy it and have as much fun as I did 🙂
Ingredients (Makes 1 Small House)
For the gingerbread:
250g Unsalted Butter
200g Dark Muscovado Sugar
7 Tbsp Golden Syrup
600g Plain Flour
2 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
5 Tsp Ground Ginger
For the decoration:
2 Coloured Boiled Sweets
1 Egg White
250g Icing Sugar
Generous Selection of Sweets (I used a Haribo, Silver Balls & Jelly Tots)
– Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/390F and have two baking trays ready to one side.
Add the butter, sugar and syrup in a large saucepan and heat on a low heat until everything is melted together.
Whilst waiting for that to mix, sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger into a large mixing bowl.
Once the sugar, syrup and butter have melted together, add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir together until you have a stiff dough (if you need to, add a tiny bit of water to help the dough come together).
Cut out the templates and place a sheet of floured baking paper on your work surface. Tip the dough onto the baking paper and roll it out, until it is about 1cm thick (about the thickness of two £1 coins). Cut out one part of the house using the templates and transfer the gingerbread, still on the baking paper, to your baking trays.
Re-roll the dough and repeat until you have all six house parts (2 roofs, 2 side walls, a front wall & a back wall) ready to bake. If you have any left over dough, you can cut out any gingerbread treats (I used mine to make decorations for my gingerbread cupcakes).
To give the side walls a stained glass window, cut a small square (or what ever shaped window you want) out of the dough and add a boiled sweet to each of the windows.
Place the baking trays in the centre of the oven and bake the gingerbread for around 12 minutes until it has firmed up and it slightly darker around the edges (it may feel slightly undercooked but will harden up more when cooling, so don’t worry). Leave to cool for 3-4 minutes on the tray before trimming around the templates just to neaten up the edges. Transfer the gingerbread to a wire rack and leave to cool completely (around 1 hour).
Whilst the gingerbread is cooling, prepare the royal icing. Add the egg whites to a medium sized mixing bowl and slowly sift the icing sugar in, stirring to make a thick, smooth icing.
Use the icing to attach your sweets onto the house in a design of your choice: I just went for the sugar-crazed decoration, but chocolate fingers can be used for a door, and mini chocolate rolls make a great chimney!
Once all decorations are dry, its time to build the house. Add the remaining royal icing to a piping bag with a medium nozzle (I used Tala Number 4 nozzle) and pipe several lines of icing along the wall edges, one at a time, to join the walls together. Place a tin can in the centre of the house to support the walls from the inside, and leave to dry for a few hours.
Once dry, remove the tin can and ‘glue’ the wall panels on. Repeat the same process as before, but fix each roof panel on one at a time and hold these in place for a few minutes (10 minutes to be safe) until the icing starts to dry.
Leave to dry completely (at least 3-4 hours), before dusting with some icing sugar, wrapping in cellophane or serving straight away.
The gingerbread house will be alright to eat for 1 week, but will keep as a decoration for much longer.
Coming Next: Christmas Cake Part 3