This recipe makes enough for at least five small gingerbread houses, plus lots left over for festive shapes . Before you start baking, make sure you have:
– a very large bowl
– a decent rolling pin
– a piping bag/cylinder and nozzles
– baking paper
– sweets (jelly tots, Smarties, licquorice etc.)
– extra icing sugar, in case you run out
– cardboard for the templates (see below)
500 grams butter
750 grams (2 cups) golden syrup/treacle
500 grams (2 cups) sugar
4 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons bi-carb soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ginger
1.25 kilograms (10 cups) plain flour
2 egg whites
800 grams (about 4.5 cups) pure icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Place butter, treacle & sugar in a heavy-based pan and stir slowly over a low heat until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Cool for at least 10 minutes, then transfer the mix to a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together.
In another separate bowl, whisk the eggs and vinegar until just combined. Add this mix to the cooled butter mix and beat well with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Add all the sifted dry ingredients gradually to the butter mix. The gingerbread should now be thick enough to form a soft ball. Leave mix in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight, before rolling. The cooler the mix is, the softer the gingerbread will bake. For crispy gingerbread, roll straight away.
On a well-floured surface, take a chunk of gingerbread and roll it into a ball. If a little soft, knead the gingerbread with extra flour until it’s thick enough to roll. Roll the gingerbread to a thickness of approximately 1/2 centimetre. Take your cardboard templates (see measurements below) and use a non-serrated knife to cut around the templates. If the surface isn’t well floured, the gingerbread may stick, causing stretched shapes.
Place the shapes onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and cook in a moderate oven (180 degrees Celsius) for approximately 12-15 minutes. Check during cooking because if the oven heat isn’t even, the shapes will burn.
Once baked, remove from oven and leave the gingerbread on the tray for five minutes. Take the pieces off the tray and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool fully before icing.
Beat the egg whites until combined. Add the sifted icing sugar until the mix is quite firm. Add the lemon juice (this will give the icing a slight shine).
Cut your own using the following measurements:
Roof: 10cm x 11.5cm
Sides: 9.5cm x 5cm
Front & back: 10cm x 4.5cm x 9.5cm (the diagonal)
Chimney pieces: 1.5cm x 5cm, 1.5cm x 3cm, then two more with a diagonal cut (see diagram)
…0r just download the PDF version here or JPG version shown here. UPDATE: This template gets downloaded thousands of times per year, but nobody has ever let me know how the recipe/template worked for them. Please do leave a message below!
Cover a large plate with foil. Spoon a small amount of icing onto the plate in the shape of the gingerbread house foundations (a rectangle). Using a piping bag, pipe some icing on the short ends of the two house sides (the small, rectangular pieces). Place the un-piped sides on the plate, parallel to each other but far enough apart for the house front and back edges to rest on the piped sides. You should now have a rectangle base for the roof to attach to. Give the structure a few minutes to “glue” together. You can add the door to the front of the house and start working on the chimney (fiddly) while you’re waiting.
Pipe down the edges of the front and back sections from the top tip to where they meet the sides. Take each roof panel and place on each side – simultaneously if possible – so that they meet at the top.
Decorate with sweets and icing. Allow a few hours for the icing to harden before wrapping in cellephane or covering.