Hansel and Gretal's Gingerbread House
Nothing brings the fairytales quite to life like a gingerbread house. It's fun to make and decorate, especially during the holidays, and is certainly a change from the regular holiday treats.
250g unsalted butter
200g dark brown sugar
7 tbsp golden syrup
2 tsp bicarbonate of Soda
4 tsp ground ginger
2 egg whites
500g Icing sugar
1. Preheat oven to 200°C or 180°C if you’ve got a fan oven.
2. Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger in a large bowl, then stir into the butter mixture to form a stiff dough.
3. Divide into four equal balls and let cool.
4. Cut out the template or make your own blueprint for a house (if you cut it out of sturdy cardboard and it holds together with only a few pieces of celotape, it will make a sturdy gingerbread house). Put a sheet of baking paper on your work surface and roll your first ball of dough to a 5mm thickness. Cut out one of the sections, then slide the gingerbread, still on its baking paper, onto a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, re-rolling the trimmings unti you have two side walls, a front and a back wall (identical) and two roof panels. Any leftover dough can be used for gingerbread people or to make trees.
5. Bake all the sections for 12 minutes or until firm and just a little darker at the edges. Leave to cool for a few minutes to firm up, then trim around the templates again to give clean, shart edges. Leave to cool completely.
6. In the meantime, make the icing glue you’ll need to build your house. Place the egg whites in a large bowl and sift in the icing sugar. Stir to make a thick, smooth icing. Spoon into a piping bag with a medium nozzle (or use a plastic sandwich bag and cut a small hole in one corner). Pipe generous snakes of icing along the wall edges, one by one, to join the walls together. Then cement the roof panels on. Use sewing pins as nails to hold the walls and roof panels together until the icing is dry (this takes a few hours – preferable overnight). Write down how many pins you use so that you can remove them all again.
7. To decorate, pipe a little icing along the length of two KitKat fingers and secure that on top of the roof. Use two mini Chomps for the door and cut another on the diagonal to make the chimney. Using the icing, stick sweets around the door and on the front of the house and to stick the Smarties to the roof as roof tiles.