For rumtumtigger – Gingerbread House
rumtumtigger recently posted a recipe for gingerbread people and said she’s always dreamed of making a gingerbread house. A few years ago (OK, so having just checked the photo properties, I admit it was more than a few years ago … 2004, to be precise) I made a gingerbread house for my sons (who were, at that stage, still sweet & relatively-obedient non-teens).
After making this one, I swore I’d never make another!
The next Christmas, my brother decided to visit from Australia and, having missed the ‘one-and-only’, insisted that I make another gingerbread house for him to see.
I’ve now officially made TWO lifetimes’ worth of gingerbread houses and shouldn’t be expected to do this again for at least another 200 years!!!
I used the recipe and templates in the Australian Women’s Weekely ‘The Christmas Book’ (which has an abundance of wonderful recipes and creative ideas for Christmas). Despite rumtumtigger’s apprehensions, this is a pretty quick one to make, with the gingerbread being made only one day before assembling.
Three hints for making a gingerbread house:
- Glaze the cooked gingerbread pieces about 5 minutes after taking them out of the oven (combine 1 Tblspn castor sugar, 2 Tblspns water and 1/2 tspn gelatine in a small pan & stir over low heat until sugar & gelatine dissolve – don’t boil);
- “Glue” the house together with Royal Icing (see below) – this icing is also used to stick decorations to the house; and
- Don’t expect your whole amazing creation to be eaten … sadly, much of it ends up in the bin a week later!!
2 egg whites
4 cups icing sugar (more or less), sifted
1/2 tspn lemon juice
Beat egg whites in a small bowl with an electric mixer until just frothy then gradually beat in enough sifted icing sugar to form very stiff peaks, then stir in the lemon juice.
Cover the suface of the icing with a damp cloth to prevent it drying out whilst working.
If the icing is too thick, add more egg white, 1 teaspoonful at a time, until it’s the right texture.