Tada! Here it is, my gingerbread house for this year. I actually look forward to making this all year and this year was no exception. To be totally honest this is not an original idea. In fact if you have ever searched for 'gingerbread house' on Pinterest you have probably come across the house that I have based this one on. If you haven't then have a look here. When I first spotted this one I just had to make one for myself. There are excellent instructions here but I have done mine slightly differently so I am also giving you full instructions. For my gingerbread I used this recipe:
Ingredients For The Gingerbread
250g unsalted butter
200g dark brown demerara sugar
7 tbsp golden syrup
600g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate soda
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp water
Ingredients For The Royal Icing
500g Icing Sugar
2 Egg Whites
For Decorating a Stitched Up House
Fondant icing (white and food colouring OR white, green and other colours your want your buttons to be.)
Circle cutters in 3 small sizes
Edible pen in black
Make Your Gingerbread House
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. In a pan on the hob melt the butter, sugar and syrup. Mix the flour, bicarb and ginger in a bowl and add the melted ingredients and stir together to form a dough, if it doesn't quite come together add the water. Roll out the dough to about 3mm thick on some parchment paper. Then cut out your pieces. You can choose a template from here for your house. Just print one out, cut out the shapes and then use a knife to cut them out of your dough. Make sure you do 2 of each side, end and roof piece. Take any excess off your parchment paper and then transfer your shapes to the oven. Use any left over dough to cut out extra shapes for decorating, I cut out 1 lady and 2 trees and the rest into stars. Cook these pieces in the oven for 10-12 mins or until they just start to go brown around the edges.
Once you have taken them out the oven, before they cool use your templates to trim them down to the right size with straight edges, if you don't then they won't line up when you try and put it together so it will probably fall down. If you're going to 'stitch' your house together like I have you also need to add holes to both ends of both side and end pieces. Do the same number of holes on every edge.
Once it has cooled, mix together your icing sugar and egg whites to make your royal icing glue. Then pipe thick lines onto the edges of the walls and put them together one at a time. If you are 'stitching' together your walls then now is the time, so get some strawberry laces and you can literally sew them up. Then you can add the roof one side at a time by piping more icing onto the walls. You probably need to hold these in place for a few minutes to make sure they don't fall down. Then leave your house over night before decorating. Keep your royal icing ready to use by covering with cling film as you'll need the rest for decorating.
Decorate Your House
Now it's time for the fun part. First off you need to make all the things that you want to adorn your house with. I made button roof tiles and used 4 colours, red pink, blue and yellow.
To make your buttons, roll out your icing and cut several of your largest circle size out. Using the next smallest circle cutter make indents in the circles of icing and finally use a cocktail stick you make the button holes. For the smallest buttons for the path use your smallest cutter and just make holes. Repeat with each colour until you have enough tiles. I needed 50 to tiles my roof so did 13-14 of each colour plus the small ones for the path.
I also cut out a yellow star, 5 green trees, a red door, a blue window and a pink lady using my cutters and 2 tiny yellow stars with a knife. I made a wreath for the door out of green icing my making a long snake, curling it into a circle and squashing it a little. I then used a knife to add some lines to it to give it some texture. the bow is made by cutting a thin ribbon of pink icing, folding the end round to the back and wrapping it with a very thin snake of more pink icing.
To make the tree I carefully cut on of my gingerbread trees in half and stuck these two halves to the middle of the second gingerbread tree using my icing glue. Then I stuck the green icing tree shapes into each corner of the tree and pushed the result into some white fondant icing to stand it up. To finish this off I piped royal icing lines on and stuck one of the smallest yellow stars to the top.
I trimmed down the pink icing lady into a dress shape by chopping off the arms and head. Then I icing glued it onto the gingerbread person and finally piped the stripes and spots onto the dress. I stuck the wreath to the door and drew the window shapes onto a square of blue icing. The last thing to do before you assemble it all is to sprinkle some icing sugar on the 'ground' for the snow.
Lay down your smallest buttons to make a path and you're done. This is SUCH a fun house to make and its now proudly on display to add to the christmas decor in our house. The gingerbread will go a little soggy after a few days but you can display it for a lot longer. I hope you enjoy making a gingerbread house too. Zoe xx