It’s come up to that time of year when I get crafty with my baking. Most of yesterday was used making a small gingerbread house for the guys at work accompanied by many little gingerbread men and gingerbread snowflakes that I can package up and turn into cute gifts for a bunch of other people.
With the carols going in the background and the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger wafting through the house, who couldn’t get into the festive state of mind?
Listen, if this is something you plan on taking on, my only advice to you is: be prepared. The recipe and the baking parts aren’t all that hard but a gingerbread house is something you have to commit almost a full day to because it is time consuming.
The recipe I use asks you to put the mixture in the fridge for a while before rolling it out, which gives you time for a quick clean up and to cut out the house pattern. But then after rolling and cutting it also tells you to put the pieces back in the fridge for another 20mins before baking. This is all very well if you don’t have the world’s tiniest fridge and the world’s tiniest oven… meaning there’s a lot of juggling to be done with the cooling and baking process and also with the baking trays (only so much fits on each one!).
Then there’s the assembling process! The trick here is making sure you’ve got the right consistency for your icing. Yes, you want it to be very slightly on the runny side to give that ‘snowy’ look but you also want it to be thick like a paste and hard enough that all the walls and roof hold and stick together.
Decorating the house is always the fun part, but be sure not to put too much on the roof so it doesn’t cave in on you. The other caution is to make sure your roof pieces aren’t any thicker than your walls because then it’s just too heavy, especially when you start adding icing sugar and lollies (sweets) to it. I made this fatal mistake the first year I took on the gingerbread house challenge and ended up staying up until 5am re-making parts of it.
My next baking challenge is to make another, much bigger gingerbread house to be my centrepiece for Christmas Day, but this time gluten free (so I can actually have some!) So… wish me luck because this one really will be a challenge. Lucky I love this stuff so much.
My gingerbread recipe came out of a magazine, years ago and I can’t for the life of me remember which one. I don’t particularly feel like typing out all of the ingredients and instructions, plus I’ve adapted it over the years. The recipe is very, very similar to this one though.