Recipe

Gingerbread houses

This recipe for gingerbread houses creates a kid-friendly project that will get everyone into the Christmas spirit.

  • 1 hr preparation
  • 20 mins cooking
  • 30 mins marinating
  • Makes 1
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This recipe first appeared in Food magazine.
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Ingredients

  • 125 gram butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup each: brown sugar, golden syrup
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 1/4 cup cups flour, sifted
  • 3 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 20 centimetre square cake board
Icing
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • 3 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • assorted lollies, chocolate bar (for chimney), silver balls, etc, for decorating

Method

  • 1
    Cream the butter and sugar with an electric beater until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the golden syrup and egg yolk, beat again
  • 2
    Using a large metal spoon, gently fold in the sifted flour, ginger and baking soda.
  • 3
    Lay a piece of baking paper on the bench and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Turn the dough out onto the baking paper and, using floured hands, bring together into a ball.
  • 4
    Roll the dough into a rectangular shape, about 3-4mm thick (it gets thicker while baking). Slide the dough and baking paper onto an oven tray and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • 5
    Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Cut two squares (13cm x 13cm) and two triangles (11cm x 13cm x 13cm) from the dough. Using a knife, cut a ‘door’ from one of the triangles and place it separately on the tray. Reroll the leftover dough, using as little flour as possible (you should be able to get another gingerbread house out of it). Bake for 15-20 minutes, until firm and starting to brown around the edges (the larger pieces may need 5 minutes more). Leave for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks.
  • 6
    To make the icing, beat the egg whites until they are frothy. Add the icing sugar, a cup at a time, mixing until it becomes very thick. Stir in the lemon juice.
  • 7
    Trim the bottom and sides of the triangle pieces if necessary. Using a 3-4mm nozzle, pipe two lines of thick icing onto the cake board the same length as the bottom of the triangles, 10cm apart. Pipe two lines of icing on the underside of each roof piece, 1cm in from each end. Secure in place, making sure to leave only a small gap at the top where they meet. (You’ll need a helper, or use something to hold the ends in place).
  • 8
    Pipe a line of icing across the seam in the roof. Fix the door in place with icing, slightly ajar. Add a chimney by slicing a chocolate bar on an angle and piping in place.
  • 9
    Decorate with lollies. Pipe icicles onto the roofline at both ends. Dust lightly with icing sugar to finish. Wrap in cellophane and keep in an airtight container.

Notes

  • Make templates of the square and triangle shapes out of cardboard to make cutting easier. - You will need the icing to be thick to secure the pieces of gingerbread, but it can be thinned with a little water if necessary for decorating. - Once decorated, gingerbread houses do tend to soften so make your house as close to the time as possible. The pieces could be baked ahead or even frozen before construction. (If you are in any doubt about the crispness, then pop the pieces back in the oven for 5-10 minutes to re-harden them.) - Cake boards are available at specialty kitchenware/cake decorating shops (or use a platter with a flat surface).