Jazz up your gingerbread biscuits this Christmas and create this lovely gingerbread street. It will make the perfect party centrepiece when you cut out doors and windows and have candles or fairy lights twinkling around them
Makes 4 houses
Prep 2 hours, plus cooling & setting
Cook 1 hour
2 x quantity of Light or Dark Gingerbread dough (see recipe HERE)
3 x quantity of Royal Icing (see recipe below)
liquorice wheel or edible sweet laces
1 x quantity of Caramel Glue, optional
colourful chocolate beans or sweets
You will need
The templates (see below)
Trace the templates on pages 99–101. Using a ruler, cut out firm paper or card versions. Heat the oven to 160C/fan-assisted 140C/gas mark 3. Cut a large piece of greaseproof paper and roll out the gingerbread on top of it to 5mm.
Using the templates, cut out the house pieces and carefully transfer on the greaseproof paper (to prevent it from becoming misshapen while you move it) to a baking tray.
Place in the freezer for 5 minutes until hard, then bake in the oven in batches for 6–12 minutes depending on size, until golden brown at the edges. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Add a little water to the royal icing until you reach soft peak consistency. Spoon one third of the icing into a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle. To assemble the houses, pipe along the side edges of the wall pieces and stick to the front and back pieces. Pipe extra icing where the walls join each other on the inside of the house to create some support. Pipe icing onto the top edges of the side panels and front/back pieces where the roof pieces will be placed. Stick on the roofs and hold for a minute until the icing starts to set. Pipe decorations onto the houses.
Unroll the liquorice. Using icing or caramel glue, stick the colourful sweets to the liquorice and leave to set. Once set, stick to the front edge of the houses to look like festive street lights.
Add a little extra water to the remaining icing to make flood icing – a thick but runny consistency. Spoon over the peaks of the roofs and allow to drip down the sides. Leave to set for 2 hours or overnight.
Tip: Bake gingerbread for houses a little longer than individual biscuits as longer cooking times yield stiffer biscuits.
250g icing sugar
1 lightly beaten medium egg white
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon water
Sift the sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the beaten egg white and lemon juice.
Whisk on a low speed, so you do not incorporate too much air into the icing, for 2–3 minutes until you have a smooth, but not wet, stiff peak consistency. It should be dense and spreadable but hold a stiff peak. If it looks dry and crumbly add a little water. If it looks slightly runny and glossy, add a little extra icing sugar.
You now have stiff peak icing for sticking houses together and placing decorations onto icing. Transfer to a bowl and cover with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out. The icing can be prepared ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
You can adjust this icing to make soft peak and flood icing:
- Soft peak – Add a drop of water at a time until you have icing that holds a soft peak but does not spread on its own. Use for piping lines, borders and decorations.
- Flood icing – Add a teaspoon of water at a time until you have a thick but runny icing that smoothes out on its own within 15 seconds but not so runny that it runs off the edge of your biscuit. Use for filling in outlined areas of biscuits.
Each recipe will give directions on which type of icing you will need.
Taken from Gingerbread Wonderland, £8.99, by Mima Sinclair, published by Kyle Books. Photography by Tara Fischer