Sunday 21 December 2014


Reader Rebecca and her family make a Gingerbread house for Christmas every year… now you can make one, too!

Rebecca says:
My family love making and baking things in the run up to Christmas… it's a tradition stretching right back to when my brother, sister and I were all very little...

Mum was a stay-at-home mum then so she was always around to do things with us, but these days she's a cake decorator by profession, and that has it's advantages too! We make a gingerbread house every year… it's something we all do together and it makes our Christmas really special!

To make the biscuit dough, I would advise using a recipe book or finding a recipe online… our recipe came from the BBC Good Food website… the link is at the bottom of the feature. We don't follow all of the instructions to the letter - just the making of the gingerbread bit. It's a recipe we've tried before, that works for us. As my picture shows, the basic process is fairly simple. Mix, knead, wrap and chill… it's that easy!
The next stage is to cut out the templates and roll and cut the dough to shape. Again, I'd advise you find template shapes in a book or online, enlarge them to the right size and cut out before you start to work.

Roll out the chilled dough on sheets of greaseproof paper and very carefully cut out your gingerbread house pieces… the dough is easier to work once cool. Bake the pieces for 12 minutes at 180c or Gas Mark 6, and allow to cool on a wire rack.

We're all involved by this stage… and no matter how old we get, we still want to do the same things… it wouldn't be Christmas without it. Mum remembers decorating the Christmas cake with her mum, and making rum truffles…
The next stage is to mix up some royal icing and use this to stick the gingerbread pieces to the board and to stick the walls and roof together.  We cheat these days and buy ready-made royal icing, just because it's easier. Take your time with the construction; the house needs to be well put together if it is to last through Christmas!

Next, it's on to the decoration! You can use almost anything for this… bright, tiny jelly sweets, mini biscuits, peppermint candy canes, boiled sweets and lots of royal icing piped on which makes great snow! We even added in a duck pond this year… just to be daft, really! You can go for a neat, tasteful look or a bright, fun look… whichever you opt for, it's going to look amazing!
Once you are happy with the decoration, your gingerbread house is almost complete. One tradition we have is to melted a boiled sweet into a circle cut into the front of the house, while it is still in the oven… this gives an amazing stained glass effect and is very easy to do if you remember to cut out the circle and pop the boiled sweet in place before baking.

The final touch is to place a nightlight inside the house, because this then gives a beautiful glow. Be careful, though… last year, the nightlight actually melted some of the icing and our beautiful gingerbread house collapsed… disaster! Still, we did get to eat it a bit sooner… and it was so funny that nobody really minded that things hadn't worked out!

This year, the house looks perfect, although a few bits have already gone mysteriously missing… sweets, the gingerbread tree and the people! It'll be a miracle if it lasts until Christmas Day!

I think this is the sixth year we've made a gingerbread house, and I hope there'll be lots more times up ahead. I hope you will maybe have a go at making one of your own… there's just time to get it done for Christmas!

Cathy says:
This looks like SO much fun… I am planning to try it next year for sure! Do YOU have any family traditions at Christmas time? COMMENT BELOW to tell me more!

1 comment:

  1. Me and my friends made a gingerbread house the other day, it took a long time but it was worth it! Hamdi:)xxx



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