Making a gingerbread house

There’s something very satisfying about making a gingerbread house – it takes time, planning, precision and nerves of steel for it to all come together, plus about a kilo of royal icing!

First I got to become a fairytale architect and plan the actual design of the house (clearly one of the best bits).  Unfortunately this also involved more maths than I’d like, but it’s important to be precise at this stage!

plans.jpg

Like Rome, gingerbread houses aren't built in a day. So first I made the dough, and after two nights resting in the fridge (so it was nice and firm for shaping) I cut and baked the gingerbread pieces. This meant I had a very gingery smelling flat but dinner on my knee that night:

plain_gingerbread.jpg

A few hours and a lot of icing sugar later, everything started looking a little more Christmassy:

piped-gingerbread.jpg

After the icing had set I started gluing the pieces together with royal icing, but I’m afraid this is where there’s a gap in my photo documentation. With one hand piping and another holding the whole thing together, I just couldn’t reach the shutter!

On the plus side, it makes this post sort of like a makeover show with the before and after shots. Drum roll please…

Ta da!

For me, the joy of a gingerbread house lies in the little details around it, not just the house itself, so this year I decided to include a few gingerbread chaps playing in the snow outside. There would have been more on there but unfortunately this house did not have a big enough garden (London property prices, eh?).

All in all I was pretty happy with the outcome . My one regret is that the scene takes a tragic turn when the gingerbread men can’t fit inside their own house, but I know for next time to measure the people before piping the front door on the house!