1 more sleep until Santa comes and we just have some last minute baking left to do and some prep work for tomorrow. The presents are wrapped and my three children are very excited today.
I had my three children working hard last night. They were given the task of decorating their gingerbread houses and they loved every minute of it!
Making gingerbread houses isn't a quick process but it is definitely worthwhile. Nothing beats the smell of gingerbread baking in your oven. I started the process of making my gingerbread houses on Wednesday and we finished on Sunday.... I got distracted.
Basically you need to make the dough and bake the pieces for the house on one day. I assemble my houses over 2 days to ensure that they are structurally sound as last year I had one collapse while we were decorating and I've now been scarred for life. I then leave assembled houses to dry overnight before I let the children decorate them as the children are never exactly gently when applying the decorations. I'll share with you my ginger bread recipe, royal icing recipe and basic template link.
I hope that you can also find the time to make a gingerbread house for yourself or with your family this year or the next.
Merry Christmas xxx
Gingerbread houses can be as simple or elaborate as you like. I have found a fantastic website which has some great templates for houses,www.gingerbread-house-heaven.com . They also have recipes for gingerbread and royal icing but I have not tried these yet.
The template I used for these houses can be found at www.gingerbread-house-heaven.com/support-files/free-gingerbread-house-pattern.pdf . This is their basic house template and is a great place to start. They have included some great tips and notes on how to personalise your house and their website is full of inspirational photos of completed projects.
This is the gingerbread recipe I use.
Gingerbread for biscuits, trees and houses.
You will need:
360 g Unsalted butter
420 g Caster sugar
600 g Golden syrup
2 Tsp Cinnamon
2 ½ Tsp Ground ginger
1 ½ Tsp Ground nutmeg
1 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Bi-Carb Soda
1240 g Plain flour
2 Egg whites
400g Icing sugar (approximately)
Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan over low heat. Stir Carefully until thoroughly incorporated.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Pour into electric mixing bowl.
Meanwhile sift the combined spices, salt and soda into the mix and stir well. Using the dough hook on the mixer, start adding the flour about 1 cup at a time. Use a medium setting until well combined.
Remove from bowl, split the dough in half, wrap the excess in plastic wrap and put aside.
On a lightly floured surface roll the dough to about 8mm thick, use cookie cutters for festive shaped biscuits. If using the template cut out carefully with a sharp knife, gently place on trays covered in baking paper at 180c for approximately 10-20 minutes, depending on the size.
Lightly whisk the egg whites in a bowl, slowly whisk in the icing sugar to make a firm peaking icing. (It will look white and glossy).
Cover the surface of the icing with plastic wrap to prevent a crust forming.
Use the royal icing generously to construct the house or the tree, allow to set before using the remaining icing to attach sweets and decorate.
Here are some pictures of the process :
This is how I store my royal icing, a damp tea towel, a dinner plate placed over the top and then stored in the fridge in my mixing bowl. That way if I need to give the royal icing a bit of a mix or add more sugar to get the consistency back to stiff peaks I can put it straight back in the mixer and fluff it up. Royal Icing can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.
Emily and Hayley's house, notice the pet snakes in the front yard.