‘Deck the Halls’ – and the Walls and the Windows and the Mantle Piece and the …

When it comes to decorating our homes for Christmas it seems ‘less’ is definitely not ‘more’.  Not long now until the big day and little by little we are getting ready.  We have decorated the tree, hung the icicle lights, the stockings and the advent calendars, made the cake, sent the cards, and planned the menu.  But we’re not done yet!

Gingerbread House

A few years ago I had the novel idea of making a gingerbread house for the children – there was room for one, if I shoved the cake along to the end of the table and decided to display my cards somewhere else.  Well the little house was a huge hit and sometimes even when you have the best of intentions things can turn around to bite you because now my children insist Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without the spicy smelling house filled with lollies. Aaarghh, the things we do!

Let's Start Building

My recipe is from The Australian Women’s Weekly Christmas Cooking cookbook.  They say this will take just two hours to make but that is like Jamie Oliver telling us we can make his meals in 30 minutes so just triple that two-hour time frame and you’ll be more on track.

The great thing about these houses is that the gingerbread has a wonderful aroma and wherever the house is displayed, the surrounding area will be scented with ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.

Applying the 'Glue'

A gingerbread house can look challenging to make but they really aren’t that difficult.  You just need to be careful to roll the bread to the right thickness and cook until just firm and then your walls and roof should be able to stand firm without collapsing.

Gingerbread House

Degree of Difficulty:  4/5 because of the time involved and fiddling about etc

Feeds:  1-20 depending on how many lollies you can comfortably digest

Cost:  Cost will vary depending on what sort of lollies and how many lollies you stuff into the house

You need thin cardboard or thick paper to make patterns for the house.  The house can be assembled three days ahead.

We have a door and a hole for the chimney

4 1/2 cups (675g) self-raising flour

3 tspns ground ginger

2 tspns ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tspns ground cloves

1 tspn ground nutmeg

185g butter, chopped

1 cup (220g) firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup (180g) treacle

2 eggs, lightly beaten

35cm square cake board

assorted lollies

Little hands love to help

Royal Icing

2 egg whites

3 cups (480g) pure icing sugar

Beat egg whites in a small bowl with electric mixer until frothy; gradually beat in sifted icing sugar.  Cover icing with a damp cloth while not using.

Process flour, spices and butter until mixture is crumbly (you may have to process in two batches).  Add sugar, treacle and enough egg for mixture to just combine.  Turn dough onto floured surface; knead until smooth.  Cover; refrigerate 1 hour.

Meanwhile, cut paper patterns for gingerbread house:  cut two 12cm x 19cm rectangles for roof; two 10.5cm and 16cm rectangles for side walls of house; and two 16cm x 18cm rectangles for front and back walls of house.  Trim front and back walls to forms two 11cm-high gables.

Preheat oven to moderate.  Roll dough between sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick.  Peel away top layer of paper; use patterns to cut shapes from dough.  Pull away excess dough; slide baking paper with shapes onto oven tray; back, uncovered, in moderate oven about 12 minutes or until shapes are just firm (they become crisp after they cool).  Re-roll dough scraps into one 5mm-thick piece; cut out trees and chimney.

While shapes are still warm and soft, use tip of sharp knife to cut out small windows from side walls of house, then cut out door from front wall; reserve cut-out door piece.  Trim shapes to straighten sides; transfer all shapes to wire racks to cool.  (I also cut out a hole in one of the roof pieces where the chimney will be so you can pour lollies in through the roof when the house is complete).

Make royal icing.  Cover board with foil or silver paper.

Secure two crossed skewers to back of each roof piece with icing.  Allow to dry before assembling house.

Assemble house, securing roof and walls together with icing.  If possible, stand house several hours or overnight, supporting sides with four can, so that it is thoroughly dry before decorating.  Decorate board around house with remaining icing to resemble fallen snow.

Secure door to house with icing; decorate house with lollies securing with icing.  Secure trees to board and chimney to roof with icing.  Dust house with a little sifted icing sugar, if desired.

 

All done...all worth it

 

Comments

  1. That’s a picture-perfect gingerbread house! It must’ve been really fun making it!

  2. Looks great, what a fun day! :)

  3. I love the gingerbread house. A great tradition.

    Kelly

  4. Gorgeous work Charli! Your house looks so perfect and well constructed too! Mine always seem a little lopsided but not yours! :D

  5. it seems like so many of the gingerbread houses i see are ridiculously gaudy and tacky, but this one has an understated beauty. well done, folks! :)

  6. Thats a really nice house, symmetrical, well constructed. Are you qualified as an architect/builder:)
    So true about those 30 mins meals

  7. omg so nice!!!

  8. What a lovely gingerbread house, very creative. I have never made one, but it looks like it would be fun to make.

  9. That’s a delicious looking gingerbread house — too beautiful to devour, I am guessing :)

  10. naw cute gingerbread house! i dont have the patience to make one so i shall just stare at your one :P

  11. I’ve never actually made a gingerbread house. Maybe I’ll try it with my nieces this year!

  12. Just adorable. Love the little walkway.

    Merry Christmas!

  13. So cute!! I have always wanted to make one, BUT….I run out of time every year!!

  14. So cute, but I bet you sometimes regret starting a new tradition. And I agree, the amount of lollies you can consume comfortably is very individual!
    Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas :)

  15. Wow! You are really quite the crafty one, aren’t you? If there’s a craft that requires 10 thumbs, then I’ll be great at it. Until then, I’ll just admire the works of others, like yours here.

  16. Great job with the house. Sadly I don’t think I have the coordination to make one myself. :-(

  17. I am beyond impressed that you actually MADE all of this from scratch. We always just used a kit (the ONE time that we did it). Looks amazing!

  18. Dear Charlie

    Your house looks beautiful and delicious. I think I’ll start with the chimney with all that icing :)

  19. Charlie, it’s beautiful! I love how neat and well-assembled it is, sometimes gingerbread houses look a bit ramshackle.. ;-)

    Have a wonderful Chrissie!

  20. Wow that is amazing Charlie. It looks perfect. I have a young friend with 2 little girls who each Christmas gets to gether with all her cousins and they have a gingerbread house making day. A lovely tradition.

  21. You’re such a wonderful mom… I made these when my children were probably your children’s age, but I must admit that I bought the walls and roof pieces and the icing from our local bakery… It seemed to daunting a task to take on. I’m so impressed with how it all turned out and your “little hands” photo is so adorable! Have a wonderful and very merry (and relaxing Christmas)! xo Smidge

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Smidge. Lovely to hear from you. If I could have bought the walls and roof pieces from my local bakery, I would have. Have a wonderful Christmas xx

  22. Very impressive and my, oh my, what an angelic child!

  23. I never did make one but I should start the tradition. Yours is beautiful. Merry Christmas!

  24. Every year I saw I’m going to try to make a gingerbread home and I never do. I definitely think I should try this recipe out next year. You just made it look uncomplicated and your recipe instructions are wonderful.

  25. I love your gingerbread house! It looks very real, especially the icing hanging off the roof :D

  26. Nice blog, I hope you are enjoying the holidays. Love the photos! Merry Christmas.

    Visit my blog when you get a chance ;)

  27. Very impressive. Someone took out a demolition order on mine.

  28. Great house, Charlie – & you’re so right, they do take some time.
    My kids still love gingerbread houses, but mostly just the lollies on them!
    Merry Xmas!

  29. Waw! What a beautiful & stunning tasty gingerbread house!
    Looks so festive & alternative too! :)

  30. Freckles on the roof! Yummm I want to eat your shingles. hehe
    I remember once my teacher had our class make a replica of the entire school out of gingerbread houses.
    An awesome feat, but I don’t know if I’d attempt it again!

  31. Your house looks so awesome, I could definitely live in there :P I applaud you!

  32. that looks gorgeous – I have always wanted to make a gingerbread house – making one every year sounds like a great tradition – hope the kids eventually take it over if it is something they love

  33. I love the look of this! I have wanted to make one of these for years! Maybe one day.

  34. Major inspiration here, I am new to loving gingerbread. So creative! Love the dripping snow off the top too :)
    Heidi xo

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  1. [...] And for the recipe and a look at how this gingerbread house should look, please have a look at last year’s effort. [...]

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