A-Frame Gingerbread House
The festive spirit is building in our house and everyone is looking forward to a well deserved break. I'm just back from visiting my childrens' School Christmas fair. It is lovely to see so many handmade gifts on sale. The festive season provides so many opportunities to spend time together as a family. One tradition my kids adore at this time of year is creating a winter wonderland table centrepiece. Together they cover a cereal box, with tinfoil and collect little twigs for trees, cones for bushes and some holly. A dusting of spray snow transforms everything into a magical lakeside scene. What better way to get your house looking and feeling festive than creating a gorgeous chalet style Ginger Bread House scene. The simple A-frame structure is foolproof so you will be able to construct it with minimal fuss and spend more time on those extra details that make it look so pretty.
GINGERBREAD HOUSE WITH ROYAL ICING
I always make lots of dough so I can cut out extra biscuits to eat while admiring the beautiful house. Enjoy hours of fun as you create your own picture perfect house with lots of prettily piped white icing. The only limitation is your imagination! Stick any edible sweets and baubles to the icing while it is still wet.
Makes 1 Gingerbread House
150g brown muscovado sugar
150g golden syrup
1 tsp mixed spice (or allspice)
1 tbsp ground ginger
½ orange, zest and juice
200g butter, cut into cubes
400g self raising flour, sieved
250g icing sugar, sieved
2 egg whites
1 tsp lemon juice
175g ready to roll white icing (fondant)
edible sprinkles and baubles
- Place the muscovado sugar, golden syrup, mixed spice, ground ginger, orange zest and juice into a saucepan. On a high heat, bring the contents of the pan to a simmer stirring well.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Add in the flour and use a wooden spoon to mix to a dough consistency. Allow to cool slightly then wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes before rolling it out.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.
- To construct the Gingerbread House, first draw two templates using a sheet of paper. For the front and back of the house draw a triangle measuring 15x10x15cm. Use a knife to cut out a small door in one of the triangles. For the sloping roof, draw a rectangle with sides measuring 15cm x10cm.
- On a lightly floured surface roll the ginger dough out to a 4mm thickness. Use a sharp knife and the paper templates to cut out 2 triangles and 2 rectangles, of equal size. Use any remaining dough to cut out tree shapes and to bake a 20cm wide ginger base for the house.
- Place the dough templates on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving space between them as the dough may expand slightly.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are beginning to turn dark golden in colour, then turn the oven down to 160°C and let them bake for another 5-10 minutes without browning further. Removed from the oven and after 1 minute, carefully lift them up with a palette knife and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (so the biscuit remains as crisp as possible).
- To make the icing: Place the sieved icing sugar into a large mixing bowl with the egg white and lemon juice. Start mixing on the lowest speed until combined, then increase the mixing speed, whisking for about 4 minutes until the icing has a firm satin-like consistency (add in a drop or two of lemon juice if it looks very dry or too stiff for piping). Place half the royal icing in a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle with a pen tip size opening. Place the remaining icing in a second piping bag with a larger nozzle or use a scissors to snip an opening to your required size.
- To create a Gingerbread House scene. Pipe thick white icing along the triangle edges to be cemented to the roof. Gently press the roof against the cement edges as though you were balancing two playing cards together. Pipe cement along the top where the two roofs join. Leave the cemented house to dry for 2-4 hours.
- Roll out white icing and cut it to a nice shape that will sit on the gingerbread base. Gently lift the house and position it on the white icing.
Use the thin tip piping nozzle to create dainty lines around doors and dots on the roof. Use the thicker tip piping bag to add thicker snow effects around the gutters and other edges of the house. Decorate with edible baubles (or colourful sweets and candy canes). Store in a cool, dry place (and cover overnight) so it lasts as long as possible!