Easy gingerbread house
- January 2010
- Takes 45 minutes to make, 15 minutes to cook, plus cooling and decorating
To keep the kids busy over the Christmas holidays, help them make this gingerbread house. Then lay out bowls of sweets and chocolates and leave them to decorate it.
- 175g butter
- 175g soft dark brown sugar
- 3 tbsp golden syrup
- 700g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Zest and juice (about 50ml) of 1 orange
- 2 medium free-range eggs
For the decoration
- Boiled sweets for the stained glass windows,such as rhubarb and custards or strawberry and creams.
- 500g box royal icing sugar, made up according to packet instructions.
- Strawberry-and-vanilla sticks for the windowsills.
- Liquorice comfits and liquorice bridge mix for the shutters and door knob
- 3 x 110g bags white chocolate buttons for the roof tiles.
- Hundreds-and-thousands for the chimney.
- Jelly beans, silver foil and silver balls for the pond, plus extra silver balls for the window ledges.
- Sprinkles for the gravel path.
- Your choice of sweets for the presents and rock piles.
Download our gingerbread house template.
- For the gingerbread, put the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup into a pan over a very low heat, stirring until the butter and sugar have melted. Set aside to cool.
- Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and orange zest in a big bowl. Crack the eggs into another bowl.
- Add the butter mixture to the flour along with the eggs and orange juice. Mix well, then use your hands to bring together into a ball. Sprinkle a little flour over a clean work surface and knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth.
- Preheat the oven to 200°c/fan180°c/gas 6. Divide the dough into 3 pieces (about 400g each) and roll out on 3 sheets of baking paper until it’s about the same thickness as a £1 coin.
- Using the templates you’ve downloaded off our website, cut out the different pieces (you may need to re-roll your trimmings), then transfer the gingerbread shapes, still on their baking paper, to 3 baking sheets – the baking paper won’t burn in the oven and it will stop the gingerbread sticking to the baking sheets.
- Put boiled sweets in each window hole (they will melt in the oven and create a stained-glass effect), then bake for 9 minutes. Check to see if it is cooked and the sweets have melted. You may need to bake for 1 more minute. Using oven gloves, take the tray out of the oven and carefully slide the gingerbread (still on the baking paper) onto a cooling rack. If the gingerbread has spread, you may need to trim the pieces while still warm to give straight edges. Cool.
- Once cold, put the gingerbread in an airtight tin and leave overnight until really crisp – if you decorate the house with icing and sweets too soon, the dough may go soft and the house will not be very stable.
- To decorate the house as shown, use royal icing to stick the strawberry-and-vanilla sticks and silver balls under the windows, and use the liquorice comfits for the shutters. Leave to set.
- Assemble the pieces on a chopping board. Use royal icing to stick the sides, front and back pieces together, and stick the pieces to the board to stabilise the house.
- Decorate one roof piece: use a knife to spread icing all over the roof, then cover with chocolate buttons. Start from the bottom, then add the buttons in rows that just overlap to look like tiles. Decorate the chimney pieces with icing and hundreds-and-thousands. Wait until the icing is completely dry.
- Brush or pipe the icing onto the sloping edges of the front and back of the house to create ‘icicles’. Attach both roof panels, using royal icing, making sure you spread some icing in the middle to glue them together. Stick the chimney pieces together, then attach to the roof with royal icing. Carefully cover the untiled side of the roof with white chocolate buttons in the same way as before. Attach the door to the house and choose a sweet for the door knob.
- Spread any leftover icing over the chopping board to make a snow scene. Have fun piling sweets to look like presents, or rocks. Make a little pond with jelly beans and silver balls, and a path using coloured sprinkles. You don’t have to stick to the sweets we have used – use your imagination!
You will need to be a little patient making this but you’re bound to receive lots of praise when people see it.
To help you, download and cut out your templates here. You’ll need 2 x sides, 2 x roof pieces, 1 x front, 1 x back, 2 x sloping chimney and 2 x straight chimney pieces.
You’ll find a wide selection of sweets at
poppysoflewes.co.uk, theoldsweetshop.co.uk and hopeandgreenwood.co.uk.
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