Every year I have my family at my house and we host Christmas Day. For the last few years I have made an edible treat as a favour for the dining table, using them as place names. Last year I made gingerbread cookies with royal iced piping on with my guests names on. This year, I made everyone an individual gingerbread house.
Ingredients for the gingerbread – this will make approx 4 small gingerbread houses depending on what size cutter you use.
350g Plain Flour
2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Bicarb of Soda
175g Light Brown Sugar
4 tbsp Golden Syrup
Method for Gingerbread
Place your flour, bicarb of soda and ginger in a bowl. Cube the butter and rub into the flour.
Next, add in the soft brown sugar, the egg and finally the golden syrup. Mix together then turn out onto your work surface and begin bringing it together to form a dough.
This is a lovely gingerbread recipe, and now you have your dough, you can make anything. gingerbread men, cookies, or for these cute littler gingerbread houses.
I used a small square cutter to make my gingerbread houses. For each house, you will need 7 cookie squares. Cut out and then place onto a baking sheet, making sure to leave a gap in between each cookie as they will spread out slightly when cooking and you don’t want them joining together.
Bake at 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5 for 10-12 minutes. Once you remove them from the oven, leave them on the baking sheet to cool for about 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
While you are waiting for your gingerbread cookies to cool, you can begin to make your royal icing.
Royal Icing Ingredients
2 Egg Whites
500g Icing Sugar
Royal Icing Method
In a pyrex bowl, whisk your egg whites until they form a stiff peak. Once you have achieved this, slowly start adding in your icing sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time and continue to whisk, repeating until you have used all of the icing sugar. You will end up with a really stiff mixture, that you can water down later once you start decorating. A top tip here would be to place a tea towel underneath your bowl as the mixture becomes stiffer. It will be harder to mix and the bowl may try to move around whilst you are whisking. The tea towel keeps the bowl in place for you.
Once your gingerbread cookies are cool, you can begin to assemble your gingerbread houses. Using the royal icing as glue, stick your cookies together as shown below.
Once you have the main structure, leave the icing to set for an hour or so (the longer you can leave the better). Once the royal icing is firm and hard, you can use another two gingerbread cookies and ice them together to form the roof. Once the roof is on, again leave for a while for the icing to firm up (I left mine overnight, but an hour should be fine).
Once set, you can begin decorating your gingerbread houses. I did a very simple design on mine, I piped slates on the roof and a door and windows on the front. ‘Merry Xmas’ was piped on one of the sides, and at the back of the house I piped my guests name.
Another nice touch I added was I popped some Christmas chocolate coins inside the house as an extra surprise for my guests. These are not the prettiest of gingerbread houses, Ive never made them before, but I quite liked them and my guests did too.
Why not give it a go, or make a giant one (maybe double up the recipe depending on what size you wish to make). Why not make with the kiddies and add on lots of lovely treats like Smarties, mini Toblerone chunks, mini marshmallows, candy canes or anything else you may have lying around your home this festive holiday. Have fun and enjoy!