Gingerbread s’mores tree
- November 2023
- Serves 4-6
- Hands-on time 1 hour 45 min, plus cooling and setting. Oven time 15 min
Forget gingerbread houses – this year, it’s all about the gingerbread tree! Break off a few pieces, sandwich one of the toasted marshmallow snowballs between them, dip in chocolate and enjoy a s’mores-inspired festive bite. Seriously magical, and great to enjoy with kids.
Click here for the gingerbread tree template. Please note: the royal icing contains raw egg.
- 91g (63g sugars)
- 200g plain flour, plus extra to dust
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 60g unsalted butter
- 30g light soft brown sugar
- 40g black treacle
- 75g golden syrup
- Melted chocolate to serve (optional)
For the royal icing
- 120g icing sugar, plus extra to dust
- ½ free-range medium egg white, lightly beaten
- ½ tsp lemon juice
For the marshmallow snowballs
- 6 gelatine leaves
- 80g liquid glucose
- 100g caster sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- Icing sugar to dust
- Christmas tree templates
- Piping bag with small round nozzle
- Sugar thermometer
- Heat the oven to 160°C fan/gas 4 and line a large baking tray with baking paper. Sift the flour, baking powder, spices and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Over a gentle heat, stir the butter, sugar, treacle and syrup together until smooth, then add to the bowl and stir with a wooden spoon to create a dough. On a floured surface, roll out to 5-7mm thick. Using the templates (see Know-how), cut out 3 Christmas tree shapes and the star for the top. With the scraps, cut out any other festive shapes for individual biscuits.
- Space out the biscuit shapes on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges are darker brown than the centre. While the biscuits are still warm, use the slot template to cut out a rectangular slot on each Christmas tree biscuit. Leave to cool on the trays.
- Meanwhile, make the royal icing. Sift the icing sugar into a mixing bowl, then add the egg white and lemon juice. Whisk with an electric mixer at a low speed (you don’t want too much air in the icing) for 2-3 minutes until you have a smooth (but not wet) stiff peak consistency (the peaks don’t fall over). It should be thick but spreadable. If it looks dry and crumbly, whisk in a little water. If it looks runny and glossy, mix in a little extra icing sugar. Transfer to a piping bag.
- Use the icing to pipe an outline on all the biscuits, plus lines for decoration (or any other pattern you like). Leave to set for at least 30 minutes. Keep the remaining icing in the piping bag in an airtight container so it stays soft.
- Once the icing is dry you can interlock the biscuits to create the 3D Christmas tree. Set it on a serving plate and use the rest of the icing in the piping bag to pipe between tree and plate and along the joins of the biscuits to hold it all in place, then any additional decoration you like. Leave to set.
- To make the marshmallow snowballs, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Put 40g of the liquid glucose, the caster sugar and 60ml cold water in a pan over a low heat, stirring now and then, until the sugar has dissolved. Once dissolved, turn up the heat and bring to the boil, removing your spoon. It needs to reach 115°C on a sugar thermometer.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 40g liquid glucose in the microwave on high for a few seconds then transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer with the beater attachment. When the syrup reaches the right temperature, quickly squeeze the softened gelatine to remove excess water, then add to the syrup, stirring to dissolve. With the motor running at a low speed, carefully pour the syrup down one side of the bowl into the mixer, avoiding the beaters. Increase the speed to high and whisk for 2-4 minutes until the mixture has quadrupled in volume and is thick and white.
- When the marshmallow mixture is ready, whisk in the vanilla and cinnamon. Line an oven tray with baking paper, then dust well with icing sugar to coat and dust your hands well too. Pull off sections of the marshmallow and roll in your hands and in the tray to make snowballs of different sizes. This is quite sticky! To keep things cleaner, keep dusting with icing sugar and remove the stickiness from your fingers before you make the next ball. Once you’ve made them all you can pile them up around the base of your tree.
- Use a blowtorch to toast the outside of the marshmallows, then dust the whole thing with icing sugar to create a snowdrift effect. Serve at the centre of the table so everyone can get stuck in, breaking off pieces of gingerbread to sandwich around the marshmallows. If you like, add some melted chocolate in a small bowl for dipping.
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