This year I decided to make a Gingerbread House after seeing all the gingerbread construction efforts of the Great British Bake Off contestants. I’d never even made gingerbread biscuits before, let alone assembled them into a stable structure. I was excited, but also nervous. As you can see above it was a success and I’m so proud of my Gingerbread House! Here’s how I made it…
In a bowl I put plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, and butter (which I grated). Using my fingers I rubbed the mixture together until it resembled fine breadcrumbs.
Then I added the ground ginger, mixed spice, and light brown sugar and stirred it in.
In a pan I gently heated some golden syrup, I let it cool and whisked in two eggs.
I didn’t use a cookie cutter set for this house, I made my own template. I started with the side piece, and decided it should be 8″ long and 3 1/2″ tall. I then used these measurements to make the rest of the house. It also helped that my boyfriend is very handy at maths!
I made a well in the flour mixture, and poured in the eggs and golden syrup. I combined the mixture together until a dough formed.
I rolled out the dough and used my template to cut out the shapes of the house. Two sides, the front, the back, and two roof pieces. I kept the dough fairly thick so the house would be sturdy, and I didn’t want to risk the pieces breaking apart after baking. About 5mm should be ok.
I placed them onto lined baking trays and baked at 160C Fan/180C/375F/Gas Mark 5 for about 15 minutes.
They came out lovely and golden brown. I let them cool fully on cooling racks.
I decorated the house the next day. I mixed icing sugar with a little water to create a thick paste and piped window and door shapes onto the pieces with a piping bag and a small circular nozzle.
I bought a variety of sweets to decorate the house, and stuck them on with the icing.
I used chocolate jazzies to tile the roof, and plenty of icing to make sure they stuck. Once the icing dried it was pretty solid and nothing fell off.
I decided to use caramel to stick the pieces of the Gingerbread House together. I heated sugar until it went golden. I kept the caramel on a very low heat whilst I stuck the pieces together. This kept it liquid, but stopped it from burning. I didn’t take any photos during assembly as it was very tricky, and also I burnt myself with the hot caramel. Word of warning when using hot caramel – be careful!! It hurts a lot if it gets on your skin, and for several hours…
I started with the front piece and stuck both the sides to it. Then I put the back on, and finally the roof. Caramel hardens very fast so you have to work quickly, and an extra pair of hands is highly recommended.
I added a little Christmas tree at the front of the Gingerbread House and dusted the whole thing with icing sugar for a “snow” effect. The base used was a glass chopping board covered in foil. You can add gingerbread people to the base, or anything else you fancy.
And the Gingerbread House was complete! So pleased with it! I couldn’t bare to eat any of it or destroy it, so I left it with my boyfriend to do the ‘dirty work’.
I also made some yummy Christmas shaped cookies with the leftover dough…!
I made them again a few weeks later and gave them out as gifts in pretty bags tied with ribbon.
For the gingerbread biscuits
- 600 g Plain flour
- 2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- 200 g Butter or baking spread
- 3 tsp Ground ginger
- 3 tsp Mixed spice
- 300 g Light brown sugar
- 8 tbsp Golden syrup
- 2 Eggs
For the caramel
- 200 g Caster sugar
For decoration (optional)
- 200 g Icing sugar
- Chocolate jazzies
- Assorted sweets
In a pan gently heat the golden syrup, set it aside to cool for 5 minutes
Put the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, and butter into a bowl and rub the mixture together with your hands until it resembles breadcrumbs
Add the ground ginger, mixed spice, and light brown sugar and stir them in
Add the eggs to the cooled golden syrup and whisk them in
Pour the eggs and golden syrup mixture into the flour mixture, then mix until a dough forms. Wrap it in cling film and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge
Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and line your baking tray(s) with baking paper
You can use a cookie cutter set for this house or make your own template like I did. My side piece was 8" long and 3.5" tall, my front and back piece was 6" long, 3.5" tall, then had a 5" slanted roof, my roof piece was 8" long and 5.5" wide - you will need two of each piece for a full house
Roll the dough out onto a floured surface to a thickness of 5mm using a rolling pin and use your template or cutters to cut out the shapes of the house. Re-roll the dough if needed
Place them onto the lined baking tray(s) and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown all over. You may need to bake them in batches if you don't have enough space on the tray(s)
Let them cool on the tray for at least 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack as the biscuit will be very delicate when it's hot, let them cool fully on cooling racks
I decorated the house before assembling it, but you can assemble it first if you like
Mix the icing sugar with a little water to create a thick paste and pipe window and door shapes onto the pieces with a piping bag
Stick any sweets onto the house using the icing as 'glue' - let the icing dry fully before moving the biscuits as otherwise the sweets could slip off
If you are using chocolate jazzies to tile the roof, use plenty of icing to make sure they stick, they let it dry fully
To make the caramel heat the sugar in a pan on a low-medium heat until it goes golden. Keep it on the heat whilst assembling otherwise the caramel will harden quickly
Safety first! You will need someone to help you assemble it, this is a two person job. Also please be careful! Caramel is very hot and hurts a lot (trust me, I know) if it gets on your skin when it's hot
Start with the front piece and stick both the sides to it by dipping the biscuit into the caramel then pressing the edges together. Then put the back on, and finally the roof. Caramel hardens very fast so you have to work quickly, you can use a spoon to drizzle more caramel over the joins to ensure a secure fit
Put the assembled house onto a pretty place or board, sprinkle it with icing sugar and add extra sweets of other decorations around it