T'was the night before Christmas, and there are treats all through the house. There's plum pudding awaiting, ham glazing and last but not least there is a snowy gingerbread house with tasty gingerbread men.
Making a gingerbread house is not a last minute project. You need at least a full morning or afternoon up your sleeve to allow time for making the dough, baking, decorating, constructing and the final finishing touches.
I used the recipe and instructions from the December 2011 issue of Australian Good Taste magazine. The templates can be printed out on card, covered in aluminium foil and then placed directly on the dough and cut around with a large knife.
from Australian Good Taste December 2011 issue
200g (1 cup firmly packed) brown sugar
1 cup honey/golden syrup/treacle
2 eggs, lightly beaten
600g (4 cups) plain flour
150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1. Place butter, sugar and honey in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.
2. Combine butter mixture and eggs in a large bowl. Sift in the flours, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and bi-carb soda. Stir well until combined.
3. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (or you can use mixer with dough attachment). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to rest.
4. Preheat oven to 180°C. Roll out a quarter of the dough at a time, leaving the other portions in the fridge. Roll out on baking paper to 5mm thick. Cut out shapes from the dough using templates or cookie cutters.
5. Slide paper with dough pieces onto baking tray and bake for 5-10 minutes until slightly golden (baking time depends on size and thickness of shape). Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack.
Baked gingerbread should be stored in an airtight container in layers separated with baking paper. Can be kept for up to a week, but will soften over time.
330g packet Queen royal icing
375g packet white chocolate melts
340g packet Freckles
Smarties/ other lollies to decorate
icing sugar, to dust
1. You will need to bake 9 pieces. Front and rear walls, 2 side walls, 2 roof pieces, 2 chimney pieces and front door. Front door is cut out of front wall.
2. Once baked pieces are cool, they can be decorated. Make royal icing as per pack directions. Transfer to piping bag with small tip or ziplock freezer bag and make a small cut in one corner.
3. Pipe designs on the walls, door, chimney, and use to glue chimney pieces together. Allow to set.
4. Melt half the chocolate and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a ziplock freezer bag and make a small cut in one corner. Use to glue all the pieces together, holding each for a few moments to set. Gingerbread house can be set up on a cake board or foil covered chopping board.
5. Use melted chocolate to glue freckles and chimney to roof, overlapping slightly. Attach door. Use leftover royal icing to make "snow" around the house and the eaves. Use Smarties or other lollies to decorate as you wish. Dust entire house with icing sugar to imitate snow.