I only made three gingerbread houses for the raffle prizes. The fourth gingerbread house was for us. So the first three were made while Sylvia was either at school or asleep and I could focus. By the time I had made the first three I had learnt a lot. Which meant making the fourth should have been easy. However decorating with Sylvia required patience and compromise.
gingerbread I made for the previous gingerbread house. I know it held together and it tasted really good too. I wanted a few small gingerbread houses rather than just one big one. I found a template at BBC Good Food.
Four small houses was more work than one but more learning too. In the above photo you can see the sticks from trimming the risen baked gingerbread to fit the template. I trimmed them when they had cooled just enough for me to hold the template over them without burning my hand. I read somewhere that it is best to overbake than underbake the gingerbread, the less rise the better and not too thick because that makes it heavy to hold up.
However when I tried to pipe snowy edges around the roof it drooped in a way that I am not sure the egg white royal icing did. I wondered if it made a difference that I did the roof trimmings after keeping the royal icing in the fridge overnight and piped the decorations when the icing was fresh. More experiments are required. (As if I make gingerbread houses every day!)
This how-to-assemble-a-gingerbread-house video was useful in getting my head around how to put everything together. I found that the rooves in the template a bit too small and were better when I added a bit of length in the fourth house.
I found myself in the supermarket chatting to staff about how to break candy canes and whether it was simple or needed a particular technique. We decided Professor Google would know. But after searching online, I found it was usually just a matter of chopping firmly with a good knife. Occasionally they shattered but usually were a clean break.
Also above you will notice that I used the chopping board to wipe all those little bits of icing that get everywhere when piping.
We both had a go at drawing plans and arranging lollies on the gingerbread to develop a design. It didn't quite work as planned. I agreed to try lining the rooves with m and m's. Sylvia was keen to do it but then thought it fine to threw a handful of lollies higgledy piggledy.
I am sending this gingerbread house to Lucy and Lauren for Fabulous Foodie Fridays, to Karen (and Janie) for Tea Time Treats, and to Mandy (and Kirsty) for Cook Blog Share.
For more Christmas recipes at Green Gourmet Giraffe check out my Christmas menu ideas and my Christmas gift ideas.
Small Gingerbread Houses
Two batches of this gingerbread dough to make 3 houses (ie the same amount that the recipe uses to make one house.) Make houses as per instructions but use below measurements for small houses and the vegan royal icing for an egg free icing. If you want a completely vegan gingerbread house there are lots of vegan gingerbread recipes such as the ones at Vegan Dad or Two Green Peas.
from BBC Good Food or use these measurements:
- Side wall: 10cm wide x 5 cm high
- End walls: a 10cm wide x 5cm high rectangle with a 9cm high pitch for the roof (ie the wall is 14cm high in total)
- Roof pieces: 11cm high x 12cm wide
Vegan royal icing
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe and Geeky Cakes
3/4 cup aquafaba (I used the water off 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas)
1 tbsp cream of tartar
1100g icing sugar
Beat aquafaba until quite frothy. Gradually beat in sugar and cream of tartar until you have a stiff mixture that holds its shape but can be stirred. Keep covered with clingfilm while not using and keeps in the fridge in airtight container overnight but I think it might lose a little of its firmness.
NOTES: I tried making another batch of royal icing with 4 tbsp aquafaba, 1 tsp cream of tartar and 400g icing sugar. It was too stiff and not good for my cheap beaters. It probably would have worked better if I hadn't dumped all the sugar on the aquafaba at once but it was so stiff it was like modelling clay.
On the Stereo:
Dr. Demento Presents the Greatest Novelty Records of All Time, Volume VI: Christmas