My mum and I always make a gingerbread house together every christmas. It’s a nice bit of bonding time in the kitchen. My mum always ends up being the builder, doing all the boring bits like rolling out the gingerbread and mixing up the cement-like royal icing. Whilst I always take on the role as architect, designing the exterior, stained glass windows and landscaped garden. Its a perfect partnership. However, we’ve had our fair share of disasters over the years…broken windows, melting snow, collapsed roofs and fallen trees to name but a few.
BUT…I am happy to announce that this year mission gingerbread house went pretty swimmingly.
So here’s how:
You need to decide on a style of house. We always go for a traditional Hansel and Gretel house but you can do anything you like. It’s easiest if you construct your house out of cardboard first then you’ll know each panel fits together.
To make the gingerbread…
- 175g butter
- 175g light muscovado sugar
- 2 eggs
- 450g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp ground ginger
- Mix butter and sugar together and then gradually beat in the egg
- Sift the flour, baking powder and ginger in a bowl until it forms a dough
- Knead into a ball, cover with cling film and transfer to the fridge for 30 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan)
- Re-knead the dough until it is smooth and cut into six equal pieces
- Roll out the first piece of dough between two sheets of non-stick baking parchment until an even thickness of 3mm
- Place one of your house templates over the top and cut out the shape with a sharp knife
- Repeat with the remaining dough until all your panels are cut out and bake for 10-15 minutes
For the stained glass windows…
This is one of the most exciting parts of the whole process. You’ll need an assortment of different coloured boiled sweets. Crush them using a rolling pin or using a hammer until they are in small chunks.
- Part bake the panels with windows for 8 minutes
- Then place the crushed sweets in the window spaces
- Bake for a further 3 minutes until the sweets are melted
Decorating the house…
It’s important to do most of your decoration before you construct the house as it will be a lot easier. I always use smarties around the windows and silver balls for the trees but you can decorate it however you want.
For the royal icing…
This is the stuff that will stick the gingerbread together and also form the snowy roof. You’ll need 700g royal icing and mix it together with 100ml water until it forms a sticky consistency.
- Place the icing in a piping bag with a thick nozzle
- Pipe icing down every edge of the base panels and hold in place
- Leave to set for 2 hours until you put the roof on
- Cover each edge with icing and place each roof panel on and hold for 5 minutes
- Cover up the roof with icing sugar for a snowy effect
For the wreath and Santa’s boots…
It’s best to use ready-rolled coloured icing. Put the wreath on the front door and Santa’s boots down the chimney.
For the trees…
Each tree has three gingerbread panels. Pipe icing down each edge and hold together in a triangular shape. Pipe icing down the branches and place a silver ball at each top.