The bonus of having children is getting to use them as a front for pursuing your own projects. At birthdays that means I’m busy recreating the fabulous creations from the Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Cook Book and this Christmas I decided to make my first Christmas Gingerbread House. I’ve always wanted to make one and now it seems I have the perfect excuse in the form of a toddler who could help me decorate (and destroy) the house.
I used my standard gingerbread recipe and just doubled the quantity. Then I made a cardboard version of the gingerbread house to use as a template for cutting out the gingerbread. Putting the cardboard version together first meant I could be sure everything actually fitted together. I was a little haphazard in this step and just randomly cut out the cardboard rather than actually measuring and using a ruler to get straight lines which shows in the somewhat lopsided nature of my gingerbread house. I like to call it character.
Once the gingerbread was cooked I assembled the house using some tins of food to hold the walls and roof in place then I pinned it together with some dressmakers pins and used some thick icing to cement the house together. I left this to dry overnight then removed the cans, filled the inside of the house with lollies and got to work on the fun part – decorating the gingerbread house. I promise I let my daughter help a little bit as much as it killed me!
Thanks to Aussie Farmers Direct General Store which supplied the ingredients for my Gingerbread House. I’ve used Aussie Farmers Direct for fresh fruit and vegies before so was pleased to discover you can now get pantry and baking staples as well delivered to your door including all the sugar, spices, syrup and lollies I needed to make my Gingerbread House. The website is easy to use and I like how it ranks products so that Australian made comes up first in your searches. Let’s call this a patriotic Christmas Gingerbread House.
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup golden syrup
- 5 cups plain flour, sifted
- 4 tsps ground ginger
- 4 tsps cinnamon
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 egg whites
- 2 cups of icing sugar
- Lollies to decorate. I used Allens jubes, chocolate freckles and candy canes.
- 1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
- 2. Place the butter and sugar in an electric mixer and mis until light and creamy. Add the golden syrup, flour ginger, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda and mix to form a smooth dough.
- 3. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 mins or until the dough is firm.
- 4. Make a template for your gingerbread house using thick cardboard and make sure it fits together. You need two pieces for the roof, two side walls and a front wall and back wall.
- 5. Roll out the dough between sheets of non-stick baking paper to half a centimetre thick. Cut out shapes from the dough using your template.
- 6. Place on baking trays lined with non stick baking paper. Bake for 10 mins or until golden brown.
- 7. Use one egg white and 1 cup of icing sugar to make up half the icing. To do this mix the egg white and icing sugar until combined and so the icing is the texture of very thick honey. Add more icing sugar if you need to.
- 8. Use tins of food to hold the house together and pin with dressmaker pins. Put the icing in a piping bag and ice together the seams of the house to join the walls together and with the roof. Don't worry if the icing drips, it gives an authentic "snow" impression!
- 9. Leave overnight and then you can remove the dressmaker pins and hopefully the house should hold up.
- 10. Make up a second batch of icing using the remaining egg white and icing sugar. Use a piping bag to pipe decorations on and then decorate using lollies. Remember to put some lollies inside as well.