DIY GINGER BREAD HOUSE
300g/10oz muscovado sugar
150g/5oz golden syrup
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp of the syrup that ginger bulbs are stored in…if you have it to hand.
chocolate buttons to decorate the roof
Any amount of sweets to decorate
square cake board
Cast iron self-control not to interfere with the decorating and putting together of the house
Cocktail sticks to help it stick together
- If you are not using an Aga preheat your oven to 180c fan/200C/Gas 6
- Place the butter, sugar and syrup together in a large pan on the simmer plate (low heat) to melt
- Sieve the flour, ginger and bicarb together into a large bowl and make a well in the middle
- Pour in the melted butter and sugar mixture and stir it into the flour
- When it is cool enough to handle knead it to a stiff dough
Divide the mixture into five equally-sized pieces, cut one of these pieces in half (so you have six pieces in total). Roll each piece out on a sheet of greaseproof paper to ¾cm/⅓in thick. Using the templates, cut out the sections for the roof, sides, front and back of the house. Slide onto three baking trays lined with baking parchment. Bake for about 7-8 minutes (this is very much a work in progress and do keep checking the mixture does not over cook)
Remove the gingerbread from the oven. Trim it up a bit and the return to the oven to continue to cook for 3-4 minutes until gingerbread is firm. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes, then trim around the templates again to give clean, sharp edges. Leave to cool completely.
For the icing, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Using a wooden spoon or a hand-held electric mixer on slow speed, add the icing sugar a tablespoonful at a time. Stir in the lemon juice and beat the icing until it is very stiff and white and stands up in peaks. Cover the surface with a damp cloth if not using immediately. When ready, spoon six tablespoons of the icing over the cake board and, using a palette knife, spread the icing to cover the board in a thick snow effect which will create a base to stick the house on to. Take your shapes and use icing sugar and cocktail sticks to construct your house onto the cake board. Keep it simple and create your house. Pipe some icing along the wall edges and join the house together on the iced cake board. Leave the icing to dry and harden for a minimum of 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
Spoon a little of the icing into a piping bag fitted with a medium plain nozzle. Pipe blobs of icing on the back of each chocolate button and stick according to the photograph. Transfer some icing to another piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle and pipe frames around the windows, doors and stars to decorate.
Cut the pointed ends of the cocktail sticks into 1cm/½in pieces (you should have 12 small pointed pieces). Push the blunt end of the cocktail stick pieces into the sloping edges of the front and back of the house, leaving the pointed ends sticking out to act as peg supports to attach the roof. (Remember to remove the sharp cocktail sticks from your gingerbread house before eating it, to avoid a choking hazard.) Pipe icing between the cocktail sticks and fix the two roof panels onto the house. Pipe icing around the base and edges of the chimney and attach to the roof.
Pipe the shape of windows and the front door with icing.
- Use sweets and liquorice all sorts and marsh mellow logs to create a chimney etc. This is a lovely house to make at Christmas to wow the children – they can help you to create the house and eat sweets at the same time for a treat…