It’s that time of year! Officially very cold outside, presents being bought and children almost home for Christmas holidays. We’ve got the perfect way to get into the festive spirit and keep the little ones occupied for a few hours, allowing them to be as creative as they want. Our gingerbread mix takes the hassle out of making a gingerbread house so that you can have more time building and decorating. We decided to make two little houses instead of one big one and used this template from BBC Good Food. If you just wanted to make one house and some people, then use one mix but for two houses and extra biscuits, you’ll want to use two mixes.
Please read the recipe fully before starting to make the houses as it’s full of tips and ideas to make your gingerbread house even more impressive.
-2x Cookie Crumbles Gingerbread Biscuit Mix
-200g golden syrup
-200g caster sugar (we used a caramel to stick the house together but royal icing will work just as well, it just takes longer to set, simply buy royal icing sugar and add water as instructed by the back of the packet)
-Cake board (optional)
-Boiled sweets (optional)
-Icing pens, sweets and other decorations of your choice.
-First, make the gingerbread dough. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub into the baking mix until you have a fine breadcrumb consistency, then pour in the golden syrup and mix until it comes together to form a dough. Knead briefly on a worktop and pop in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm up a bit.
-Preheat the oven to 170 fan. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the gingerbread to about 0.5cm thick. Using cutters or the template linked at the top, cut out the pieces of gingerbread, you’ll need 4 of each shape. With any leftover dough, cut out gingerbread men or women, trees, reindeer and any other festive shapes you may have!
-Bake the gingbread for 8-12 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces, the bits of the house will take about 10, maybe up to 12, whilst the men should take about 8.
-If you’d like to do the ‘stained glass windows‘, simply cut out a small shape in the sides and front of the house and bake for about 8 minutes, until almost done, then sprinkle in crushed boiled sweets in the cut out (you may need to recut the shape whilst the gingerbread is warm) and bake for a further 2-3 minutes.
-Once all of the pieces have baked, leave to cool completely on a wire rack before attempting construction. It might help to retrim the pieces whilst they’re still warm, as they would have expanded whilst baking.
-Using caramel, simply place the caster sugar and 60ml of cold water in a saucepan and heat, without stirring, until it reaches 160 degrees. If you don’t have one, it’ll be done when the sugar has dissolved and it turns a light golden colour. Stir the caramel around to even out the colour, take off the heat and leave to cool for a few moments until the consistency of honey. If it begins to harden, put back on a gentle heat until it returns to a honey-like consistency.
-Start the construction by using the caramel to stick the side edges to the front and back pieces, glueing onto a cake board if desired. Add caramel where the walls join each other on the inside, to give it more support. Then attach the roof by putting caramel on all the edges of the house that the roof will touch, adding caramel to the roof itself to ensure maximum stability. Stick the roofs on and hold in place for a minute or 2 until the caramel has set.
-Leave the house to set for about 30 minutes before decorating (leave for at least 2 hours if using royal icing). Here is where you can be really creative! We used piped royal icing, smarties and icing pens to decorate our house. We also sprinkled desiccated coconut over the cake board to look like freshly fallen snow!
We’d love to see whatever you create with your kids using gingerbread, so please do tag us on Instagram and use #gingerbreadcreations so that we can see what you and your little ones come up with!