Christmas Gingerbread House
- 250g unsalted butter
- 200g dark muscovado sugar
- 100ml golden syrup
- 600g plain flour
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 4 tsp ground ginger (Joanne always adds an extra heaped tsp for extra gingeryness)
......and to decorate:
- 2 egg whites
- 500g icing sugar , plus extra to dust
- Chocolate fingers
- A selection of your favourite sweeties
- Pre heat your oven to 200C.
- In a large bowl mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger.
- Slowly stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture to make a stiff dough.
- Using the template, trace onto greaseproof paper or baking parchment and then cut out.
- Put a sheet of baking paper on your work surface and roll approximately a quarter of the dough to the thickness of two £1 coins.
- Using your template, cut out one of the sections, then slide the gingerbread, still on its baking paper, onto a baking sheet.
- Repeat with remaining dough until you have two side walls, a front and back wall and two roof panels. Although the template looks quite small the gingerbread does expand in the oven so do leave some room between each piece on your baking tray so they don’t become one massive blob.
- Bake all the sections for approx 12 minutes or until firm and just a little darker at the edges.
- Leave to cool for a few minutes to firm up, then trim around the templates again to give clean, sharp edges before leaving to cool completely.
Building Your Gingerbread House
Put the egg whites in a large bowl, sift in the icing sugar, then stir to make a thick, smooth icing.
Spoon into a piping bag with a medium nozzle (or freezer/sandwich bag with a corner cut off). Pipe generous stripes of icing along the wall edges, one by one, to join the walls together - it helps to use a dish or bowl in the middle to keep the walls steady while they dry.
Once dry (after about 1-2 hours), remove the supports and fix the roof panels on using the same method - to stop the roof panels sliding off it helps to put egg cups under the ledge. Leave to set completely, ideally overnight.
Decorating Your Gingerbread House
Pipe a little icing along the length of the chocolate fingers and stick these lengthways onto the side walls of the house, Use three upright for the door and a sweetie for the door handle - Any coloured sweeties work great!
Using the icing, stick the sweets around the door and on the front of the house.
For the roof pipe a thin line of icing then stick a row of sweets then repeat (I've alternated between 2 different sweet choices I've used coloured sweets and chocolate buttons but flaked almonds also work well).
To make the icicles, start with the nozzle/bag at a 90-degree angle to the roof and squeeze out a small blob of icing. Keeping the pressure on, pull the nozzle down and then off - the icing will pull away, leaving a frosty icicle. Repeat all around the front of the house.
Your Gingerbread house will be edible for around a week but will last a lot longer!!