Gingerbread houses!

Every year the kids and I make different gingerbread houses! We design them on paper with brainstorm, then I measure out the patterns on baking paper, cut them out and use them. This year I forgot the roof needs eaves – so no sparkly hanging icicles this time. Nevertheless, still a lovely little church representing our Parish of St Francis Xavier, and a nice little house, representing our family home. Remember to dust with lots of icing powder for ‘snow’! Have fun!

The kids go nuts with their decorating!!

St Francis Xavier (in a gingerbread house)!!

NB my daughter stuck love heart cookies on the front – how gorgeous! And to get the side cookies to have a “stained glass window” effect, I simply used heart shaped cookie cutters and cut out a small heart from a big heart and added raspberry jam. Because you ‘glue’ the cookie on the side of the wall with royal icing, it stays fine!

 

Ingredients

250 g butter

1 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup treacle

2 egg yolks – and keep the whites for the icing

5 cups plain flour

3 tbs ground ginger

2 tsp bi carb soda

2 egg whites – from above for icing

3 cups icing sugar for icing

 

Method

Cream the butter, sugar, treacle and yolk. Then add sifted flour little by little. Add the ginger and bi-carb too. Divide the mixture and knead well. Add more flour if it is too sticky. Set aside and cut patterns for the gingerbread house.

Roll dough out onto bake paper until about 5-7mm thick. Lay your patterns on top and use a knife to cut the edges off. You need 2 of each pattern! Bake the parts for around 20 minutes on 170 degrees celcius, but check after 15 minutes – it all depends on the thickness of your dough! Leftover dough can be used to make gingerbread men, shapes, christmas trees for the front yard of your house, whatever you desire! Bake small shapes like that at 170 degrees for about 10 minutes and cool on wire racks.

 

Royal icing

Mix egg whites with an electric mixer, gradually adding the icing sugar. Mix on high until the icing is at a consistency of being able to have some on a spoon and it not slip off.

 

Assembly

You need a large plate or a foil board. Use icing to ‘glue’ the house together with some on each end that touches another end. I also cut a couple of inches off a paper towel roll cardboard thingy and place it inside to help the roofs.

Before applying the roof wait fifteen minutes to let the sides and ends settle. To get the icicle affect run some of the royal icing over the end of each outer edge and then put the knife side-on back on the underneath side of the icing and pull down, pulling the icing gently with you. Repeat everywhere you want the icicles!

To fasten sweets onto the house use the royal icing as glue! We use a range of treats each year but the kids seem to always choose smarties and freckles! Some years they’ve used all sorts of things; freckles, small balls, milk bottles, liquorice! I always dust with icing sugar at the end to make it look like snow! Enjoy your creation, and have fun with the smash up and eating!!

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Gingerbread houses!

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