Christmas food in the UK relies deeply on aromatic spices, dried fruits, sugar, nuts and a dash of brandy. Honestly, most of it doesn’t float my boat. I wanted to make an alternative to the traditional Christmas Cake, and so, this Gingerbread House came into being.
I’d wanted to make a Gingerbread House for years, but the images online looked so impressive I was quite intimidated at the prospect of making my own.
Two years ago, I tried to freestyle what turned out to be an inedible biscuit church that was thoroughly glued together with gallons of overboiled fondant icing. This year I wanted to aim for something pretty, but something that would remain tasty too.
I have a lot of recipes for gingerbread biscuits, but the one from Peggy Porschen caught my eye. I made a few changes based on what I had in the cupboard: I substituted extra golden syrup for the treacle, contributed the spice flavours from a jar of French quatre d’epices, and added a little wholemeal flour. Crisp, crunchy, and full of Christmas spice, this is my new favourite recipe.
Gingerbread House Part 1
Adapted from Cake Chic by Peggy Porschen
- 5 tbsp water
- 210g brown sugar
- 6 tbsp golden syrup
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 4 tbsp quatre d’epices
- 250g salted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 80g wholemeal flour
- 480g plain flour
Put the water, sugar, golden syrup and spices together in a saucepan, and heat until it comes to the boil. Then take off the heat, and mix in the butter until completely melted and amalgamated. Add the bicarbonate of soda and briefly whisk in. Then leave to cool until just warm, and mix in the flours to form a fairly wet dough. Wrap this up, and pop in the fridge to chill for a few hours.
Make the template for the gingerbread house. I downloaded mine online.
Roll out the gingerbread dough in batches between two sheets of greaseproof paper. Lay the templates on the gingerbread and cut out shapes, removing the scraps to be re-used. Don’t move the cut shapes around, but transfer them to the baking sheet by sliding the tray underneath the sheet of baking paper. Put them in the fridge to chill.
Preheat the oven to 170˚C, and bake the sheets of gingerbread for approximately 15-20 minutes. The differently sized shapes will vary in their baking times. Take out of the fridge, and quickly, whilst the gingerbread is still soft, lay the templates on again, and trim the baked gingerbread.
Put the gingerbread on a cooling rack and leave until cold.
Next, the decorating step, coming up in Part 2!