Hands up if you’ve ever made a gingerbread house before? I love making one at this time of year. There’s something really nice and carefree about setting time aside to do nothing other than faff in the kitchen, designing and constructing your own little gingerbread house. With life feeling increasingly busier and busier, somehow it feels like a luxury to be able to do so.
I’m told you can buy ‘make your own gingerbread house’ kits and my advice is if you’re short on time and you can get your hands on one, then grab it. As with so many of my recipes, I wouldn’t say there is anything “quick and easy” about this one. Or go ahead and try your hand at making one from scratch. You do get a real sense of achievement and it doesn’t matter if the roof caves in, the decorations fall off or the kids eat all the lollies before you’ve finished. It’s the memories you’re making along the way, that count.
There are seven hundred thousand million gingerbread house templates on Google. Or if you’re not worried about it being too precise, preferring to wing it, like me, then get creative and draw the template yourself. You’ll need two rectangular sides for the house (which I cut two windows in to), two ends of the house (what is it called when there is a square and a triangle stuck together? A ‘house’ shape? I really should of listened in Maths) and two rectangular roof pieces. Oh and don’t forget to make a door too. Once you’ve drawn and cut out these shapes, you’re ready to use them as templates to cut out your cookie dough, effectively making your own cookie cutters.
125 grams of butter, cut into cubes and at room temperature
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1 x egg
1/3 cup of golden syrup
2 1/2 cups of plain flour
1 x tablespoon of ground ginger
2 x teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 x teaspoon of ground all spice
Store-bought Royal icing
Confectionary of your choosing, think everything from smarties to nuts, wafer biscuits, candy canes or liquorice
You will also need:
1 x rolling pin
2 x large baking sheets
1 x pair of scissors
1 x pencil
A couple of sheets of blank paper
A piping bag
- Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until pale and fluffy (scraping the sides of the bowl down in the middle of this process).
- Turning the beater down to a low setting, add the egg and mix to incorporate. Add the golden syrup and once again mix to incorporate.
- Sift together the dry ingredients and on a low setting of the stand mixer, add a third at a time, mixing between each addition, until you have a nice dough. Don’t overmix here, it just needs to come together.
- Now take the dough out and knead it on a floured work surface for a minute or so before wrapping it up in glad wrap. Chill in the fridge for an hour.
- Take the dough out and using half at a time, roll out between two sheets of baking paper with a rolling pin to a thickness of approx 6 mm.
- Using your house templates, cut the shapes out of the dough and place on to a baking sheet lined with baking paper, leaving a bit of room between each cookie.
- Bake in a low oven (170℃) for approximately 8-12 minutes or until just very slightly browned. Keep a close eye on them as you don’t want them burning.
- Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Now’s the fun bit, where you get to assemble the house. Use the icing to stick the four sides of the house together (arranging cups or other household objects to help keep the sides up, allowing the icing to dry). I decorate the roof and let it dry before adding it to the top of the house. And then get started on adding the front door or any other confectionary you choose to use. Have fun.
- Last year I made little stained glass windows in the gingerbread house by simply adding some hard boiled lollies in to the window holes before baking them in the oven. I would of loved to do this again this year but didn’t have any lollies up my sleeve. NB: you can use crushed up candy canes if you have them.
- You can make your own royal icing simply by whisking the white of 1 x egg in a stand mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add in 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar and beat until you have stiff peaks. Mix in 1/2 a teaspoon of lemon juice and you’re ready to go.
I’d love to see a pic of your gingerbread house. Feel free to post a pic on Insta, tagging @los_kitchen. xx