This year I decided to make a Gingerbread House after seeing all the gingerbread construction efforts of the Great British Bake Off contestants. I've never even made gingerbread before, let alone assembled it into a stable structure. I was excited, but also nervous to make the house. As you can see above it was a success and I'm so proud of my Gingerbread House! Here's how I made it...
No that's not cheese! It's grated butter. This is an excellent way to get butter softened quickly, and also makes dough making of any kind a lot easier. I'm so glad I tried this tip - I highly recommend you give this a go. In a bowl I put 600g plain flour, 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 200g (grated) butter and rubbed the mixture together with my hands until it formed fine breadcrumbs.
Then I added 3 tsp ginger, 3 tsp mixed spice, and 300g soft light brown sugar and stirred in. You can also use dark brown sugar if desired.
In a pan I gently heated 8 tbsp golden syrup, I let it cool and whisked in 2 eggs.
I didn't use a cookie cutter set for this house, I made my own template. I started with the side piece, and decided it should be 8" long and 3 1/2" tall. I then used these measurements to make the rest of the house. It also helped that my boyfriend is very handy at maths!
I made a well in the flour mixture, and poured in the eggs and golden syrup. I combined the mixture together until a dough formed, and kneaded it until smooth. Make sure your work surface is floured well.
I rolled out the dough and used my template to cut out the shapes of the house. Two sides, the front, the back, and two roof pieces. I kept the dough fairly thick so the house would be sturdy, and I didn't want to risk the pieces breaking apart after baking. About 5mm should be ok.
I placed them onto lined baking trays and baked at 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 for about 15 minutes.
They came out lovely and golden brown. I let them cool fully on cooling racks.
I decorted the house the next day. I mixed icing sugar with a little water to create a thick paste and piped window and door shapes onto the pieces with a piping bag and a small circular nozzle.
I bought a variety of sweets to decorate the house, and stuck them on with the icing.
I used chocolate jazzies to tile the roof, and plenty of icing to make sure they stuck. Once the icing dried it was pretty solid and nothing fell off.
I decided to use caramel to stick the pieces of the house together. I heated sugar and 1 tbsp of water until it went golden. I kept the caramel on a very low heat whilst I stuck the pieces together. This kept it liquid, but stopped it from burning. I didn't take any photos during assembly as it was very tricky, and also I burnt myself with the hot caramel. Word of warning when using hot caramel - be careful!! It hurts a lot if it gets on your skin, and for several hours...
I started with the front piece and stuck both the sides to it. Then I put the back on, and finally the roof. Caramel hardens very fast so you have to work quickly, and an extra pair of hands is highly recommended.
I added a little Christmas tree at the front of the house and dusted the whole thing with icing sugar for a "snow" effect. The base used was a glass chopping board covered in foil. You can add gingerbread people to the base, or anything else you fancy.
And the house was complete! So pleased with it! I couldn't bare to eat any of it or destroy it, so I left it with my boyfriend to do the dirty work.
I also made some yummy Christmas shaped cookies with the leftover dough...!
I made them again a few weeks later and gave them out as gifts in pretty bags tied with ribbon.