Thursday, November 26, 2009

On the fourth day of Christmas (Gingerbread House)

For a very long time I have dreamed of having a few traditions at Christmas time. I've always wanted to leave some cookies and a glass of beer out for Santa, and of course some carrot sticks for the reindeer. Then there is the present opening on Christmas morning with a yummy breakfast to go along with it. Lunch with the family that ends in everyone needing to undo the top bottom of their pants. But most importantly I want to make a Gingerbread House each and every year - starting this year.

Yes I finally baked and decorated my first gingerbread house and it was so much fun. Even better is the aroma that flows through the house. It is just to die for - the rich smell of honey, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg is lovely and it is definitely making the house smell like Christmas.

The only down part of this experience was the dough (are we seeing a theme yet with me and dough?). Again it was difficult to get it to come together - but it got there in the end. The other thing is that I didn't get to taste the gingerbread since the house is still sitting on our dining room table. I really see it as more of a Christmas decoration than something to eat.


Gingerbread House (from The Australian Women's Weekly - The Christmas Book)

90g unsalted butter
200g brown sugar
1 cup honey
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind (I left this out)
2 eggs, lightly beaten (I needed 4 eggs)
750g plain flour
150g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
Assorted lollies for decoration
  1. Combine butter, sugar and honey in medium pan; stir over low heat until sugar dissolves, cool 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to large bowl; stir in rind, eggs and sifted dry ingredients.
  2. Turn dough onto floured surface, knead gently until mixture loses its stickiness; cover, refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Cut paper patterns for gingerbread house; cut one rectangle (20cm x 15cm) for the roof; one rectangle (15cm x 10cm) for the sides and one rectangle (16cm x 19cm) for the front/back. Trim front/back rectangle so that sides are 10cm high, as shown below.
  4. Roll out dough on floured surface until 1cm thick; cut shapes from dough.
  5. Place shapes on baking trays lined with baking paper and bake in 200C oven for 10 minutes or until firm.
  6. Stand shapes on trays for 5 minutes, brush with glaze (recipe to follow). Transfer glazed shapes to wire racks to cool.
  7. Cut door from front of house.
  8. Cover a small board or tray with foil, spread a thin layer of Royal icing (recipe to follow) over foil to represent snow.
  9. Assemble gingerbread house, using the Royal icing to glue together the walls and then the roof, as shown below.
  10. Use Royal icing to secure lollies on the roof and walls.
  11. Dust with icing sugar.

Royal Icing

2 egg whites
4 cups icing sugar, approximately
1/2 tsp lemon juice
  1. Beat egg whites in small bowl until just frothy.
  2. Gradually beat in enough sifted sugar for mixture to form very stiff peaks.
  3. Stir in juice.

Glaze

1 tbspn caster sugar
2 tbspn boiling water
  1. Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over how heat until the sugar dissolves.

Now for the templates, first the roof...


Then the front/back of the house...


And of course the sides of the house...


Use the templates as a guide to cut out the gingerbread shapes...


After baking the shapes are glazed and left to cool on a wire rack...


Then you stick them together with royal icing to build up the house...


The roof is the trickiest bit - but a bit of extra royal icing and spending some time holding the roof pieces in place and it will all work out...


Then decorate to your hearts content, I tiled my roof with Freckles...


Made a colourful Smartie wall...


And gave the house a street number of 24 (which just so happens to be our anniversary and Mat's birthday)...


Rating?
5 out of 5 reindeers!

30 comments:

Kat said...

I have always wanted to make a gingerbread house and I think this year might be the year. I just hope I get some time to make one. Yours turned out great. I love that you made a whole smartie wall.

m.e (Cathie) said...

yay, how great does that look!!
I did some last year...first one always takes more time to do until you get the hang of it.
they make great christmas pressies aswell.

Chatterbox said...

Wow! that looks awesome Alicia.
I'd love to be able to do something just as creative someday.

A perfect gift for Christmas.

Simply fabulous.

Cheers!!

Paris Pastry said...

Amazingly beautiful! I bet it took a lot of time making it, but it truly looks fantastic!

Katie Taylor said...

i wouldn't want to eat it! and destroy it...it's too pretty!
xx

Gala said...

Oh how cute is that!!
Great job, it looks really charming!

Renata said...

OMG Alicia this is sooooo beautiful!!!!

lulufroufrou said...

wow - well done that looks great. I would love to give that a try - I feel I will have dough issues as well though!

Talia said...

Ooh! I'm totally inspired to make one of these now!

apparentlyjessy said...

Wow! I am totally impressed with your gingerbread house! It really is a great tradition to have.
My sister and I have been buying a house kit from Ikea (cheating I know!) for the past few years and it is so much fun to decorate and we are always so proud of it sitting in the centre of the table.
We usually make it a week before Christmas, then smash it up and eat it on Christmas eve.

Chanel11 said...

Ohhhh - I made one in primary school and I had so much fun - you have inspired me to make one myself - your's looks gorgeously colourful

Karine said...

Your house looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing :)

Amanda said...

Fun fun. I love the idea of a gingerbread house, but I doubt I'll be putting that much work into one any time soon.

Chocolaty Lifestyle said...

I can't believe that it's possible to make something like that at home! :) I have always wanted to make a Gingerbread House but I'm affraid that I will mix that all thing up. :D What a great work and amazing result!

Julia @ Mélanger said...

Oh my gosh. That's incredible. What a fantastic job. I've only made this once before - and certainly not as fabulous as yours!

Gabbi said...

Most adorable house ever!! I love the M&M's as siding... too cute.

oneordinaryday said...

Wonderful! That's a lot of work and it turned out beautifully.

We started from scratch like this with the kids only once. Usually we just buy the premade ones and let them go to town decorating it.
I just saw that there's going to be a food network challenge on KID SIZED gbread houses tomorrow night. Can't wait to see those!

drollgirl said...

this is amazing and adorable and such a delight to look at! i would NEVER want to eat it! it is too pretty!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Alica, your gingerbread house is beautiful! I'm glad you're starting your own traditions. I can't wait to start a family and some of my own.

Ingrid said...

Alicia! Your gingerbread how came out terrific! I wish I had the patience. I buy the premade ones that just need to be decorated for my Babygirl.
~ingrid

Katie said...

WOW! Your gingerbread house is fab! Every year I say I'll make one and I have never done it - you have inspired me to give it a go. Looks so wonderfully festive!

Ash said...

THis is just amazing!! I need to make myself one of these!! And I believe I will!!

natalie said...

wow this looks so so n ice! I want one too :)

emma wallace said...

Oh my goodness! It's so marvelous! It would be hard for me, though, despite the loveliness of it not to take a wee bite from that tasty-looking wall.

I can't believe how wonderful it looks!

iamemmamusic.blogspot.com

Rhianne said...

This looks so amazing!!

Chantel said...

Mate this is the coolest thing! I love it! You did such an awesome job! It'd be hard for me to keep it as a decoration and not want to have a nibble! hehe

Shelby said...

This turned out so great! Love all the colors.

Kristin said...

I'm in awe. I've ALWAYS wanted to make one of these...and not out of a kit. Wow!

Pam said...

oh so cute, I made the gingerbread men and now for sure I need to do the house...I'll try to make it as good as yours...:)
xxx

Becky said...

I going through each post and you are amazing to me!! Everything is so tasty looking and pretty! Lucky Zoe and Mat lol I'd weigh 600lbs if I was them!