gingerbread houses

  • 1.2kg plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of (baking) soda
  • 1½ cups (265g) brown sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 380g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1⅔ cups (580g) golden syrup
  • icing (confectioner’s) sugar, to decorate 

icing

  • 4 cups (640g) icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 3 eggwhites
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Place half the flour, bicarbonate of soda, brown sugar and ginger in a large food processor and pulse until combined. Add half the butter and golden syrup and process until the dough comes together. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining dry and wet ingredients. Add the second batch of dough to the first and knead until smooth and combined.
  2. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Using your fingers, press each piece into a 37cm x 25cm Swiss roll tin. Smooth the top with the back of a metal spoon. Bake in 2 batches for 12–15 minutes or until golden. 
  3. Transfer a gingerbread sheet onto a large chopping board and start cutting out the shapes while it is still hot. Starting with the large house, place the roof template (download the templates from donnahay.com/magazine/current issue) and the templates for the front and back of the house on the gingerbread and cut out the shapes using a metal ruler and a sharp knife. Cut the roof tile in half where marked and cut out a door on the front of house. Cut two even triangles from the top of the rectangles, lining up with the dotted line to create the rooftop. 
  4. Transfer a second gingerbread sheet to a large chopping board. Place the templates for the walls of the large house on the gingerbread, as well as the templates for the small house and the chimney. Cut out the shapes, making sure to cut the roof tile in half, the large and small house walls in half where marked and the chimney in half. Cut two even triangles from the top of the rectangles, lining up with the dotted line, to create the rooftop. Repeat the process with the remaining gingerbread sheets, creating the pieces for the second large house and small house, leaving out the chimney template in the second batch. Set aside to cool completely. 
  5. To make the icing, place the sugar, eggwhites and cream of tartar in an electric mixer and beat for 4–5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice and beat for a further 2 minutes or until well combined. Place half the icing in a piping bag fitted with a 4mm-round nozzle and the remaining icing in a piping bag fitted with a 2mm-round nozzle. 
  6. Starting with the roof tiles, use the 2mm nozzle to pipe a cross-hatch pattern on the large roofs and a scallop pattern on the small roofs (see images as a guide). Pipe 1 curved window and 4 smaller windows on each of the two large house fronts, and 4 windows on the two small house fronts. Pipe around each doorway and pipe the doorknobs. 
  7. Using the 4mm nozzle, pipe along the two long inside edges of the front of the large house and secure the two side walls. Leave for 2 minutes or until set. Repeat with the back section of the house. Pipe along the edges of the rooftops and secure the roof tiles to the house, holding for a few minutes until the icing starts to set. Pipe along the top edge of the roof and outline of the house. For the chimney, mark a diagonal line along the rectangle to match the roof and using a small serrated knife cut off both pieces. Pipe along one side and stick the two pieces together. Pipe on the diagonal edge and press onto the roof. Hold for 2 minutes or until the icing starts to set. Repeat with the remaining pieces to build the remaining houses. Allow to set completely for 20 minutes. Gently push the doors open and dust the roofs with icing sugar. Makes 2 large houses and 2 small houses.

+ Cut out the templates on the solid black lines, place directly on the gingerbread and use them as a stencil, cutting around the outside with a large serrated knife.

+ Use a metal ruler to help you cut out the door and the top of the roof sections.

+ Use our visuals, left, to guide you through the icing and decorating.

+ For a more manageable village, you can halve this recipe to make one small house and one large house.

+ It’s easiest to cut out the shapes while the gingerbread is still warm. While you are working with one sheet, you can set the others aside under a tea towel.

CLICK HERE FOR TEMPLATE
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