Wednesday, 8 December 2010

My Gingerbread House!

I said in a previous post that I wouldn't have time this year to make a Gingerbread House, but then I was looking through the Sainsburys magazine and saw the cutest little house! And with some persuading from my boyfriend, I decided to ditch the revision for a couple of hours and make it! It's wonderfully Christmassy and will look really good as a centrepiece for Christmas gatherings. Also, the earlier you make it (i.e now), the better the flavour if you keep it wrapped up it will last for weeks. In the recipe, they tell you how to make your own white chocolate buttons by melting it down, piping it into circles etc, but what a waste of time! So I'm using shop-brought jazzies and white buttons along with lots of other sweets to decorate it!
I thought it would be pretty easy, but I made a couple of slight mistakes which made assembling it a bit harder! So follow these tips to make yours easier:
1. Roll the dough out quite thick, mine was a bit too thin and caved a tiny bit when assembling with the icing.
2. Use LOTS of icing! Slather it on to make sure everything glues together.
3. Try not to spill icing onto the front of the gingerbread, it's almost impossible to get off once set and makes it look a little messy (like mine).
4. Don't stretch the dough too much when lifting onto the baking tray or it becomes warped.
5. If you need to cut any of the gingerbread, if it gets slightly bigger in the oven, cut it when it's just cool enough to touch before it gets too brittle.
6. If not confident, make 1 1/2 batches of the mix and leave the extra in the fridge in case it goes wrong, and if not then you have some to make cookies from!

Ingredients -
125g soft unsalted butter
75g dark muscovado sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
100ml golden syrup
375g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb of soda
3 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
To decorate the house -
Bags of white chocolate buttons and white chocolate jazzies
3 disposable piping bags
2-3tsp coloured sugar sprinkles
1 x 500g pack royal icing sugar
white sugar balls
2 red strawberry pencil sweets, finely sliced
23 red chocolate beans/smarties/m&m's - at the moment m&m's have a festive pack of half red and half green so buy these instead of having to sieve out the red smarties
32 red Jelly Tots
3 red fruit pastilles
4-5 tbsp icing sugar, to sprinkle

The dough before refrigerating. 
1. Put the butter and sugar into a food processor and whiz until light and fluffly. Add the beaten egg and golden syrup; whiz again, scraping down the sides now and again, until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, bicarb and spices and a pinch of salt and whiz until it forms a soft dough. Sprinkle flour on a clean work surface and knead the dough lightly for 1 minute until smooth. Flatten into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least an hour until firm (I couldn't wait that long so left it for about 30mins and it was fine)
2. Meanwhile, make 3 paper templates for the house. (see the photo I've made on paint)
3. Preheat the oven to 180c, 160 for a fan and line 2-3 large baking sheets with nonstick baking paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 3mm thick. Use your paper templates and a sharp knife to cut out 2 roof panels, 2 side walls, 1 front wall and 1 back wall. Transfer them to the baking sheets and using a sharp knife, cut out a front door from the dough, 4cm wide at the base and transfer to the baking sheet. Use a round cutter to stamp out 2 windows from the front wall.
4. Bake the gingerbread in batches (and take in the Christmassy smell as they cook) for 12-15mins until firm and just starting to brown. Leave to cool.
5. Make up the royal icing according to pack instructions. Add about half to a disposable piping bag and snip a tiny piece at the end. Cover the remaining icing with a damp cloth until needed.
Tins to help support
6. To construct the house, take one side wall and pipe icing along one long edge and both short edges. Hold it on your serving board, iced long edge down (use a tin to prop it up). Then pipe icing along the bottom edge of the front wall and hold it at a right angle to the first side wall for a few minutes; use another tin for support. Take the other side wall and pipe icing along one long edge and both short edges. Hold this in place at a right angle to the front wall. Then pipe icing along the bottom edge of the back wall and complete the house.
Leave for 15mins until firm.
7. Then attach the roof, pipe icing along the top edge of the walls on one side of the house and position a roof panel on top. Hold for a few minutes until it feels firm, repeat with the other panel. Pipe icing along the join at the top of the roof, spreading it with your finger to fill any gaps. Then fill any other gaps on the joins to secure the whole structure. Leave to set for 1 hour.
Sweets to decorate!
8. To decorate, put half the remaining icing in the other piping bag and snip a tiny piece off the end. Using the icing as glue, stick white sugar balls around the base. Pipe 2 latticed windows on each side wall and decorate with strawberry pencil slices as shutters and chocolate beans as a window sill. Pipe icing around the door frame and decorate with strawberry pencil slices then use a little more icing to attach the door, slightly ajar, and attach a chocolate bean door handle. Dot icing around the front windows, and pipe a heart on the front and back walls, stick a chocolate bean in the centre. Using the icing to stick 3 rows of 8 chocolate buttons to the lower half of each roof panel. Spread the remaining icing over the top of the roof to look like a snowdrift and scatter with white sugar balls. Then pipe icing along the wall joins and line with red jelly tots. Arrange the 5 remaining plain white chocolate buttons as a path and use icing to make a Fruit Pastille chimney stack, Finally sprinkle icing sugar around the house to look like snow. Leave to set for at least 1 hour. 


  1. hi, thanks for this, I have always wanted to make a gingerbread house and with your help i have! chocolate buttons laid in layers makes great roof tiles. this was a great recipe

  2. Hi Carol! Thanks for the comment, I'm glad that you got to make a gingerbread house! They look so good :) and you get to look forward to taking it all apart and eating it at the end!
    Happy Baking and Merry Christmas!
    Rebecca :)