The gingerbread house is a relatively new introduction into our family Christmas tradition. The kids love to decorate and eat it, so I’m happy for it to stay! The first year we made one was about 3 years ago and was one of the ready made kits – it ‘worked’ but tasted awful so the next year I came across the box of cutters and as I already had a fantastic gingerbread recipe from my friend Juliet I have just done this one the last few years. This year’s one is made from spelt flour as one of my kids is better with that than wheat flour. This recipe is certainly not GF, but it’s a spectacular Christmas treat and makes a sensational centrepiece for any Christmas meal or party.
Basic Gingerbread recipe
- 250g butter
- 1.5 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup treacle
- 2 small eggs
- 4 cups plain flour of your choice (I’ve done GF, spelt & buckwheat)
- 3 Tbsp ground ginger
- 3/4 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 Tbps ground cloves
- 3/4 Tbsp baking powder
- Cream butter and sugar. Add treacle and mix.
- Beat in eggs one at a time.
- Sift dry ingredients into the butter mix and mix in gently.
- If the mixture is too wet add in more flour until the mixture isn’t ‘sticky’. If you use bigger eggs it will need this extra flour.
- Refrigerate for 15-20 mins then roll out and cut into whatever shapes you are making.
- Cook at 170C for 15 mins or until golden brown.
- When cooled you can decorate as desired.
Here is the royal icing recipe – this the glue that holds it all together.
- 500 g pure icing sugar (not icing mixture)
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- Sift sugar into clean mixing bowl. Whisk until stiff peaks form.
- Mix in lemon juice.
- Scoop mixture into a piping bag with nozzle ready to pipe.
To make the gingerbread house:
Making the gingerbread is a whole day event. This year I made the mixture the night before then did the rest throughout the next day.
- ingredients as above
- set of gingerbread house cutters (see side)
- a base big enough for your house
- lollies for decorating – we used freckles, snakes, M&Ms, clinkers and a few extra mini gingerbread men that became the ‘bad guys’ and the ‘guards’.
- cellophane for wrapping
Step 1 – make gingerbread as above.
Step 2 – cut out all the pieces and bake as above.
Step 3-make royal icing.
Step 4 – get the base you are going to attach your house to then pipe a line the length of one wall, add the wall. Hold in place (or get one of the kids to) while you pipe the adjoining wall to the base, then down the join. The repeat for the other 2 walls. There needs to be enough piping to hold it all together! Leave it for at least 1 hour before adding the roof and chimney (I forgot to add the chimney!). Then at least another hour or 2 before adding on the lollies. The trick is to make sure the walls are set before adding the roof and the roof set before adding the weight of all the lollies as you don’t want it all to collapse!
Step 5 – to add the lollies just pipe icing either onto the lollies or onto the house and stick the lollies on.
Step 7 – wrap in cellophane until you want to eat it – I think it should last a few weeks if kept as airtight as possible. The kids don’t seem to mind it a bit stale though.