I got a bit carried away with Christmas baking this year, some of it more successful than others. Lets not discuss the flopped profiteroles on Christmas Day, but do lets admire my very first attempt at a gingerbread house. I have to admit to taking over the construction side of things and not sharing enough with my daughter, but she did design the decorations and got to go to the shop by herself to buy the sweeties so she forgave me pretty swiftly for doing a mum-take-over.

The gingerbread is sturdy, some bits tatstier than others, but overall I’ve awarded myself a gold star for this effort.

gingerbread house 2015

If you’re interested in my technique I used interlocking walls and secured them with a very strong icing paste. I recommend using royal icing which you make with whipped egg whites and sets harder than just water and icing sugar, it is also easier to pipe, though just as sticky to get off anything you spill it on.

Royal Icing for gingerbread house recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 x egg whites (I used medium ones at room temperature)
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted (adjust get the desired consistency)
  • Flavourings – lemon juice, almond or vanilla essense as desired – but none is fine too.

Method

  • Seperate the eggs, save the yokes you can make custard with them or add them to an omlette.
  • Put the whites into a large, clean mixing bowl and whisk until they are frothy.
  • You can use an electric whisk or a hand whisk. The eggs should be frothy not stiff.
  • Whisk in any flavourings you want to add.
  • Whisk in the icing sugar a spoonful at a time until the icing is thick and glossy.  For the gingerbread house, I went for for a consitency where the icing was quite firm, holding its shape a little if you trailed a ribbon of icing along the surface of the icing.

Tips and thoughts

  • I used the same icing for our Christmas cake, but left it slightly softer so that it would spread easily.
  • Once you’re happy with your icing spoon it into an icing bag and decorate your gingerbread house. I found that decorating the sides and roof slabs before they were added worked best. When attaching the roof I iced along the gable ends of the house and the tops of the walls, placed the roof panels ontop and held them in place until the icing set – not more than 5 minutes.

Good luck my little gingerbead construction lovelies!

Ruth