Friday, 23 December 2011

Gingerbread houses ...

are becoming a tradition in our household - they're good fun to bake and cool to decorate.  The recipe that we use doesn't actually have ginger in it (which is fine by me as I'm not a particular lover of the taste), it does have mixed spice, almonds and hazelnuts, making the gingerbread very moorish to eat.  Decorate with a selection of goodies from the home baking and sweets ailes of the supermarket and plenty of royal icing (you can buy this in powder form and add water and plenty of whisking).

Gingerbread Houses 2011

This recipe made 3 houses and a batch of biscuits too.

Gingerbread:
225g runny honey
2 eggs
175g caster sugar
500g plain flour
Zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
50g ground almonds
50g ground hazelnuts
4 tsp ground mixed spice
Pinch of salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Toffee:
112g white caster sugar

Gingerbread:
Heat the honey gently.  Beat the eggs and sugar until fluffy, add the honey and then combine the wet mixture with the remaining dry Gingerbread ingredients.  Fold them gently together, knead into a soft dough, wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 24 hours (it'll keep in there for up to 4 weeks) - we actually only kept ours in the fridge fore 1/2 a day before using (we're impatient folk!).

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (gas 4).  Roll out the dough thinly (about 5mm) and cut it into the shapes using the template below (if you can, cut a few spares too, just in case).  Put the sections on a greased and very lightly floured baking sheet.  Bake for about 10 mins until golden brown, leave to cool on a wire rack. 

Toffee:
Use a plate or cake board for presenting your house.  Make the toffee to use as glue.  This is the hardest part, and most dangerous - I burnt my finger quite badly - please don't do the same.  Melt the sugar slowly in a pan, stirring continuously, until it starts to brown.  Take care not to let it burn.  Turn the heat to the lowest setting and work quickly glueing your house together - the toffee hardens once it cools so we found it best to use a spoon to brush the toffee onto the edges of the sections close to the heat of the pan then stick each section together directly on the plate/board.  Remember, it is piping hot, take care and do not touch the toffee.  Leave to harden.

Decorate:
Make up the royal icing using the packet instructions.  Spread over the house to resemble snow, and have fun decorating your house with sweets, chocolate drops and buttons.

The template:

Here are the sizings of the house parts (if you cut out a template to the actual sizes written on the house pieces (in inches) you'll make one big house).

Roof: 7 x 5 cm (cut two)
Side Wall: 6 x 4 cm (cut two)
Gable End: 4 x 4 cm (with additional gable of  4.5 cm) (cut two)
Small door and chimney

template

3 comments:

Mollimoo said...

How gorgeous! I think your houses are beautiful & much better than I could ever make myself! Have a lovely Christmas Xx

Elaine, Ellie's Treasures said...

Thank you. Hope you all have a fab time too. Elaine x

liz said...

Wish I'd seen your recipe before I made my house:) Your houses look really sweet.