Sunday, 20 December 2015

Gingerbread houses





It isn’t Christmas without gingerbread and, much as I always love classic gingerbread men...




... I wanted to make something different to anything I’d made before.  I found this shop on Etsy selling cutters to make the cutest little gingerbread houses and I fell in love!  (Etsy is an incredible site; I know it gets some stick for some of the weird stuff you can find on it but I challenge anyone to spend 20 minutes or so browsing the site without finding something they want!)





The houses are a bit of work but can be made in stages, as gingerbread keeps very well for days and days in an airtight tin.  I always prefer piping on a flat surface so decorate all the panels and let the icing set, before assembling the houses.  As these are small they don’t require much icing to hold them together.




To provide a bit of scale, here’s a house next to my favourite mug (I dread to think how many cups of tea this cup has held!):




I’m not much of a decorator and – weak and pathetic as it sounds – get hand cramps if I do too much piping, so my houses are minimalist, but, if you’re better at that sort of thing you could really go to town.



The gingerbread was lovely – it was somewhere between ginger biscuit and the softer, more cakey, gingerbread.  It puffed up while cooking giving a nice smooth finish and the taste had just enough fire to it.  I don’t think it’s been a very exciting year for cookery books but this recipe came from one book that did capture my interest – Gingerbread Wonderland by Mima Sinclair.



This is likely to be my last post before Christmas so I shall sign off hoping that you all have a lovely day – doing whatever it is you have chosen to do! Happy Christmas everyone!





Ingredients

140g golden syrup
200g soft light brown sugar
200g unsalted butter
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
500g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg

To decorate: tubes of icing, and anything else you wish!



Method

Place the golden syrup, sugar, butter and spices in a saucepan larger than you need and melt together over a gentle heat stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved – you can tell when this has happened by looking at the back of your spoon: if you can still see tiny grains it needs a bit longer.

Increase the heat and bring to the boil (don’t stir during this process).

Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the bicarbonate of soda – it will froth up, hence using a larger saucepan.

Stir only until the bicarbonate of soda is incorporated and put to one side to cool – about 15 minutes should be enough.

Fold the flour and salt into the cooled mixture.

Beat in the egg – take care not to overbeat the mixture; as soon as the egg is incorporated stop mixing.

Tip the dough out onto a work surface or – and this is my preference – a sheet of non stick foil.

Knead until it is smooth.  Initially the dough will be very sticky and it will be tempting to add flour but DON’T!  This will make the biscuit tough.

Cut the dough in half and shape into fat discs before wrapping separately in clingfilm and refrigerating for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 160C/fan oven 140C/325F/gas mark 3.

Roll the chilled dough out between two sheets of clingfilm and use the cutters of your choice.

Place on a baking sheet lined with either baking paper or non stick foil.

Bake for about 6-7 minutes, if making a small biscuit, or until just starting to feel firm to the touch.  It will puff up during cooking and if it feels almost marshmallow soft, it needs a couple of minutes longer.

Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Decorate as you wish.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.

Eat.



15 comments:

sensibilia said...

Can you bear to eat them! (Love the mug, too)
Have a wonderful Christmas!

Gloria Baker said...

What cute and lovely gingerbread houses.
Always I think I would love make one of these.
Maybe the next year :)
Yours are lovely.
Merry Christmas.

Gloria Baker said...

What cute and lovely gingerbread houses.
Always I think I would love make one of these.
Maybe the next year :)
Yours are lovely.
Merry Christmas.

Cakelaw said...

Such cute houses! Merry Christmas.

Lisa from @intotheglade said...

They are so cute CC. A very merry Christmas to you and yours xxx

Jo said...

I spied that book the other week and was so close to buying it!

Adorable little gingerbread houses. I also agree that it isn't Christmas without a tin of gingerbread. I've already gone through a whole batch so need to make another.

Wishing you and Mr CC a Merry Christmas!

Baking Addict said...

These are sooooo cute! I love the simple decoration. Wishing you and your family a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year :)

Maggie said...

I've yet to make gingerbread houses and yours are lovely. Happy Christmas and New Year!

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

That's so cute! A gingerbread cul de sac! Each house would make a lovely gift!
Have a lovely Christmas CC. Enjoy the break x

Angie Schneider said...

Those mini gingerbread houses look absolutely adorable!
Happy Holidays to you and your family!
Angie

Marcelle @ A Little Fish in the Kitchen said...

Oh!! Those little gingerbread houses are super cute! I Love the simple decoration. This was a fun post. Happy New Year! :)

Snowy said...

They are so cute - look too good to eat!

Choclette Blogger said...

Oh these are just adorable and I completely take my hat off to you for making them. I'm rubbish at doing anything fiddly. Hope you had a good holiday and Happy New Year.

Two Wednesdays said...

Funnily I bought that book just before Christmas, but in the madness that is Christmas didn't get as far as opening it! Off to dust it off now - those houses are a perfect size.

Two Wednesdays said...

Funnily I bought that book just before Christmas, but in the madness that is Christmas didn't get as far as opening it! Off to dust it off now - those houses are a perfect size.