Lisa’s Letters Home: Gingerbread House

Lisa’s Letters Home: Gingerbread House

Oh, Pinterest. Sometimes you have some amazing ideas that work really, really well. Other times, you have ideas that really, really don’t work well – like the Graham cracker gingerbread house. The idea is that you use Graham crackers stuck together with royal icing to create no-bake “gingerbread” houses. Easy peasy!

Maybe it’s just me and my crackers were a little on the old side, but my goodness did this not work. The icing made the crackers extremely fragile, so sticking them together was a nightmare. It was a thick royal icing, which should have held everything together without getting the crackers too “wet”, but the walls of the House of Ginger crumbled. As you can tell by the expression on my son’s face in this picture, he wasn’t at all amused by this project.

Considering how much time we spent attempting to put these things together (then running out of intact crackers to use, so I had to dig some sugar cookies out of the freezer), we could have made gingerbread from scratch like we did last year. I found a tasty, easy recipe for gingerbread that you can mix, bake, and start assembling within an hour: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4900/ It does take a long time for the structure to set and dry before you can decorate, but this is what we found with the Graham cracker houses as well.

Ours sat on the table for about two weeks, at which point it was still edible (albeit a little hard – good for tea dunking, though.) Wrapped in clear wrap, it would also make a nice gift.

You can cut the template out before baking or cook it in one big sheet and cut 2-3 minutes after it comes out of the oven or cut it out before baking, but it will spread a little. This is another good one to stick in the freezer after you’ve cut out the template, but you can make it many weeks in advance if you’re just using it for decoration.

The original recipe calls for sliced almonds for roof tiles, but I kept the gingerbread plain and stuck chocolate buttons and Smarties on the roof instead. This is such a great crafty project for kids – decorating this house kept them busy for ages, although I think they ate their weight in sprinkles, chocolate, and marshmallows. It’s a lovely centerpiece with endless decorating possibilities.

So with this recipe, I wish you all a very merry Christmas!

Lisa’s Letters Home: Gingerbread House

Ingredients

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 200g dark muscovado sugar/dark brown sugar
  • 7 Tbsp golden syrup/corn syrup
  • 600g plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • For the icing, use royal icing (either from scratch or from a package – both will work well.) For decorations, let your imagination run wild!

Method

Heat the oven to 200C.

Melt the butter, sugar, and syrup in a pan.

Mix the flour, baking soda, and ground ginger into a large bowl, then stir in the butter mixture to make a stiff dough.

Cut out your template.

Put a sheet of baking paper on your work surface and roll about one quarter of the dough about ½cm thick.

Place the template on the gingerbread and cut it out.

Slide the gingerbread, still on the baking paper, on to a cookie sheet.

Repeat with the remaining dough until all of your template has been cut out.

Bake the sections for 12 mins or until firm and just a little darker at the edges.

Leave to cool for a few mins to firm up, then place the templates back on the gingerbread and trim around it to even out any spreading.

Leave to cool completely.

Use the royal icing to glue the walls together, placing a small bowl inside to support the walls.

Allow to dry completely, ideally for a few hours.

Once dry, remove the supports and fix the roof panels on.

The angle is steep so you may need to hold these on firmly until the icing starts to dry.

Dry completely, ideally overnight.

For the template, you can use the one in the original link (see above) or make your own.

Let the kids loose on the house and decorate it however you want. The gingerbread is firm, but stays nice and chewy for about a week in the open air.

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3 Comments

  1. irene
    December 21, 08:46 Reply

    last year i bought ginger bread house pieces from ikea. true to ikea form it had nothing else other than the cookie in the box so i bought all the candy and made royal icing. what a disaster… and more expensive than the kit which usually runs 10$ and can sit upright

  2. Ian
    May 23, 04:28 Reply

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