Introduction

This is a classic Christmassy recipe and since my artistic capabilities are limited, I thought I would go for a mini version of them and try my luck! If I can do it sure you can!

Materials

For the gingerbread
  • 350g plain flour
  • 2x teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1x teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1x teaspoon baking powder
  • 175g light soft brown sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
  • 1x egg
  • 80g golden syrup
  • pinch of salt
For the royal icing
  • 210g icing sugar
  • 40g egg whites, pasteurised

Method

Sift the flour in a large bowl and add the ground ginger, the cinnamon, the baking powder and the salt, mix with a whisk to just combine and set aside. Then crack the egg into the golden syrup, mix and set aside.

Into the bowl of your mixer (with the K paddle on), add the butter and cream it for a couple of minutes (shouldn’t take that long if it is at room temperature). It will become a bit paler and at this point add the sugar. Sift it before you add it, as this sugar tend to make lumps. Beat together with the butter until you have a pale brown mixture for a couple of minutes. Then add the golden syrup/egg mixture to it and beat together for a couple of minutes. Finally, add the flour/dry ingredients until just combined to form a dough.

Divide the dough into two batches and put them to the fridge for one hour. It is advised to flatten the dough before putting them in the fridge so it will be a bit easier for you to roll it. I left it in the fridge for about 30min-1h and then took it out and roll it to a 4mm thickness (I used a rolling pin with guides).

You can find below the dimensions of the houses I made. Then you need to cut the house parts from the rolled dough with a knife accordingly. You can use a ruler or the paper templates or both to help you guide you cut the right sizes. I also cut some side pieces, double the height and 1.5x the height to make some 2D biscuits (no houses done with them). I give the dimensions of them below. Bake at 180oC/fan for 12 minutes.

After taking them out of the oven, let them cool and in the meantime make the royal icing. Mix the egg whites with the icing sugar in a mixer with the balloon whisk attachment on, until you get a white paste that it seems to have the right consistency to pipe. And then you can separate it in different batches if you want to colour them but I did just white here. Add the royal icing into a pipping bag with a small nozzle (I used here the number 2) and get creative!

Decorate all the different parts of the houses, remembering which ones are the front and back (that have the doors), the roof pieces and the sides (no doors). Let them cool for at least two hours before you start building.

When you start building the houses, make two lines of icing sugar along the side edges of the front and back pieces and attach firmly the side pieces. For the roof, you will have to do lines of icing sugar along the sides of the existing unfinished house and attach the roof pieces on. The roof pieces should fit perfectly in the structure and not have any overhangs. After attaching them you can add some more royal icing at the seams of the joining parts to make it more stable but also more beautiful! Let it sit at room temperature for at least two hours, I left it overnight just to be sure.

Discussion

ok maybe I got into a little trouble with the roof bits, they were not always fitting perfectly… Overall to get the sizes spot on is the hard bit as when you cut the dough might not always result in reproducible cuts. In any case, the imperfections are also something of your personality no? I am including the sizes of all the houses pieces (and 2D side pieces) look below! (adapted from Cupcake Jemma).

It was actually quite fun to decorate the cookies although this thing (royal icing) is quite sticky and gets everywhere. There are tons of designs out there (even a gift wrapping paper had some on, see below), so you can take inspiration from many different places and then create your own thing.

I chose to use pasteurised egg whites for the royal icing as I thought it was safer than the normal egg whites. Cupcake Jemma suggested to use egg white powder which is also safe just it was harder to find at the time I needed it, but otherwise perfectly safe!

Overall, this is a great recipe and one that works!

References-Inspirations

Mini houses recipe/dimensions from Cupcake Jemma

Royal Icing adapted from Kim-Joy: ‘Baking with Kim-Joy’ (2019), p76

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