It’s Christmas Eve and I though there’s just about enough time to squeeze in one more little post before I take my Christmas break (to be fair I need to get something out of being at work today!) Yes, whilst everyone and their dog is at home enjoying Christmas merriment I’m at work, although it is the Christmas party today so it could be worse. I’m not actually a lover of gingerbread, but I thought I would make a gingerbread house for my students anyway. It wasn’t actually too hard and it really got me in the Christmas spirit. My decorating could certainly be improved upon but overall I’m quite happy with it. Niall actually made all the templates for the house but there are plenty of templates online that you can just print out if you don’t have handy and helpful boyfriend.
800g of all-purpose flour (I used the one for noodles and dumplings)
275g of dark brown sugar
200g of molasses
128g of butter
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of ginger (I used the powder that you can buy in packets everywhere)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
280ml of milk
1 tablespoon of baking powder
Royal Icing Using Egg Whites
2 large (60 grams) egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups (330 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
Combine brown sugar, molasses, butter, spices, and salt in a saucepan over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. This will take about 10 minutes. Stir in the milk and remove the mixture from the heat. In a large bowl mix the flour and baking powder then pour in the sugar mixture and combine to make the dough. Split the dough in to four pieces then wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight.
Take the pieces out of the refrigerator and roll out on a floured surface, this will be quite hard to start with but it gets easier, just keep turning them as you work. Once your you dough is about 1/4 of an inch thick you can put your template on top and cut out the pieces. bake in an oven at 170 degrees Celcius for about 15-20 minutes or until they are browned and thoroughly cooked through.
When all of the pieces have been cooked they are ready to be assembled. I decided to use royal icing to stick mine together and this worked well, but you may wish to use sugar caramel instead. Make sure the royal icing is really thick, then apply liberally all down the edges and stick the pieces together. I made the main frame first then let it dry before adding the roof.
To make the royal icing, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice until they have quadrupled in volume. Add the sifted sugar and beat on low speed until smooth. If necessary, to get the right consistency, add more sugar or water. Add food coloring, if desired. You will need to split your icing into several different containers and add all the different colors you are planning to use. The icing needs to be used immediately or put in an airtight container as it hardens when exposed to air.
Decorate with more royal icing and as much candy as you like. Allow to dry thoroughly before diving in. Merry Christmas one and all.