For the past 5 years I have made gingerbread houses every Christmas. Over the years I have made many different variations and sizes. Here is my go to recipe that is a mixture of different recipes from the net. This recipe makes one medium sized house or two small houses.
A base to build your house, I recommend a chopping board.
Stencils for the house: A good guide is two 15cm x 19cm rectangles (roof), Two 11.5cm x 16cm rectangles (side walls), Two 16cm x 19cm rectangles (front and back), each trimmed at 1 short end to form two 10cm-high gables
150 g butter, softened
1/2 cup (110g) brown sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) golden syrup
1 Free Range Egg
3 cups (450g) plain flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Your favourite lollies, chocolates and sprinkles. (Try getting all different sizes and shapes to line walls, creating doors, windows, roof tiles etc.)
Natural food dye (If you would like to different coloured icing for decorating)
Dehydrated coconut (if you would like to make your house snowy!)
Combine the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3-5 minutes or until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool.
Transfer the butter mixture to a medium bowl. Add the egg and whisk to combine. Stir in the flour, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Split the dough into two and cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until cool.
While you are waiting for your dough preheat oven to 170°C (fan forced). Then create your stencils for your house.
Using a piece of cardboard (or paper if you don’t have any) measure and cut out your stencil – see equipment above for a measurement guide.
Divide dough into smaller workable pieces. Lightly flour your rolling pin and roll each portion out on a large piece of baking pager to a 3mm-thick disc. Lightly flour the surface of your dough so that the stencil doesn’t stick to it. Place as many pieces of your stencil onto the dough that can fit and cut it out. Remove the excess dough from the baking paper then transfer the baking paper with the cut outs untouched on it into the oven on a flat tray.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until light golden. Set aside to cool completely. While it is baking continue to roll out another portion of the dough on a new piece of baking paper.
Use remaining dough to make shapes and extra items for your house or just for cookies to decorate.
Once you have finished baking all the pieces and are waiting for them to cool and harden you can make the icing. Using your mixer whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the icing sugar and continue to whisk until glossing and stiff peaks form. (You should be able to scoop a bit out and hold it over your head without any falling!) If you would like to have different coloured icing to decorate with separate the mixture and add food dye to a portion to create the colours you would like. Spoon mixture into a pipping bag and cut the tip.
On your base, get a side wall and pipe the icing along the bottom and two sides of the wall. Stick the wall onto the base, it is best to get someone to help hold it for you as you get the other pieces. Pipe the bottom of the front and stick it to the base and to the already piped side wall. Continue with this method until all four walls are up. Give the house a couple of minutes to set before adding the roof (as the roof is heavy and can make it all fall over!) Pipe all top edges of the house and add the roof. You may need a can or something in your kitchen to prop under the roof to keep it from sliding down until it sets.
Note: warmer weather can make the setting time longer than usual so you will have to be patient. However when it does set the icing is like glue and the house will be very sturdy.
Now it’s time to decorate! Pipe the icing to make lines and shapes and also use it as glue to stick on all of your lollies and chocolates. For a snowy look pipe around the eves of the roof to get the effect of snow hanging. Also sprinkle coconut over your house once it’s complete for an extra snowy look.
Enjoy AK xx