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
- 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.
- Turn dough onto floured surface, knead gently until mixture loses its stickiness; cover, refrigerate for 1 hour.
- 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.
- Roll out dough on floured surface until 1cm thick; cut shapes from dough.
- Place shapes on baking trays lined with baking paper and bake in 200C oven for 10 minutes or until firm.
- Stand shapes on trays for 5 minutes, brush with glaze (recipe to follow). Transfer glazed shapes to wire racks to cool.
- Cut door from front of house.
- Cover a small board or tray with foil, spread a thin layer of Royal icing (recipe to follow) over foil to represent snow.
- Assemble gingerbread house, using the Royal icing to glue together the walls and then the roof, as shown below.
- Use Royal icing to secure lollies on the roof and walls.
- Dust with icing sugar.
2 egg whites
4 cups icing sugar, approximately
1/2 tsp lemon juice
- Beat egg whites in small bowl until just frothy.
- Gradually beat in enough sifted sugar for mixture to form very stiff peaks.
- Stir in juice.
1 tbspn caster sugar
2 tbspn boiling water
- 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)...
5 out of 5 reindeers!