Hello my festive friends! Please be nice to me this week, I've come down with a horrible cold & am rapidly losing my voice. I currently sound like Mariella Frostrup, which to be honest would be quite nice if it didn't hurt so much. Sadly it also means most of my tastebuds have gone on strike so I'm not really enjoying my food at the minute which is torture! There's only 10 days to go until Christmas, so I'm hoping for a speedy recovery, Christmas in our house is all about the eating & drinking, it's not going to be much fun if I can't taste it :-(
This week I've finally got round to doing something I've planned for about the last 3 Christmases, I've made a gingerbread house! I'm not sure why I've had this desire, maybe it was being read Hansel & Gretel as a child!? Maybe it's because I used to love building Lego houses & the thought of an edible one was just too tempting? The gingerbread itself is really easy to make, you just need a bit of time & patience to construct & decorate it. It's quite therapeutic really, although I think I probably ended up eating more sweeties than ended up on the house! I used mini marshmallows to create the snow, milky way stars for the roof & a mixture of jelly tots, smarties & tooty frooties for the rest of the decoration. I also had some really cute little sugar snowmen & white sugar sprinkles that looked like ice. You can use whatever you want really, let your imagination run wild! I've also included a house template below, I just cut mine out of baking paper.
100g demerara sugar
200g golden syrup
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsps bicarbonate of soda
500g plain flour
200g icing sugar
Assorted sweets to decorate
1. Put the sugar & syrup into a pan & bring it up to boiling point over a gentle heat. Add the bicarb & give it a good stir, it will turn cloudy & froth up a bit so make sure you have room in the pan!
2. Chop the butter into small chunks & put into a large mixing bowl. Add the syrup mixture to the butter & stir until the butter is melted. Beat in the egg, then mix in the flour a little at a time until you end up with quite a stiff dough.
3. Dust a work surface with flour, then roll out the dough to about 5mm thick. Cut out 2 of each of the template shapes & place them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake in the oven at 170c/GM3 for 10-15 minutes. I baked mine in 3 batches, leaving them to cool completely on the paper
4. Now comes the tricky bit! Firstly trim the sides of each panel, this makes it fit together a little easier. Next mix the icing sugar with a little water until you have a stiff paste. Take one of the side panels, spread a thin layer of icing on the bottom & stick it to the cake board. Repeat with all the sections using the icing as cement, putting the roof on last. You might need to hold this in place for a couple of minutes to leave it to set. Then go wild with the decorating! Leave to set in a cool place.
I love my gingerbread house, although I don't think I could ever bring myself to destroy it! So with that in mind I have wrapped it up & donated it to our annual Christmas charity raffle at work. Hopefully it will go to a good home & it will be happily broken up & devoured, herein fulfilling it's Christmas Gingerbread destiny! Have a good week, see you next time, Rebecca x
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