By Clem Bouju and her little elf Heleen van der Donck
Ingredients for the gingerbread:
-500g plain flour
-170g brown sugar (dark!)
-200g unsalted butter
-6 tbsp golden syrup (can be found in Jumbo)
-4 tsp ground ginger
-1 tsp cinnamon
-2 tsp of baking powder
Ingredients to decorate:
-flaked almonds (for the roof)
-2 egg whites
-350g icing sugar, plus extra to dust
-generous selection of colourful sweets, chocolate fingers…
Heat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup In a pan. Mix the flour, baking powder and ground ginger into a large bowl and stir in the butter mixture to make a stiff dough (like a cookie dough). If it won’t quite come together, add a tiny tiny tiny splash of water.
Put a sheet of baking paper over the template and roll out the dough until it’s 6,3mm thick (that’s two £1 coins, haha!). Transfer the walls and roof panels onto a baking sheet and use any leftover dough to make Christmas trees, gingerbread men… Be creative!
The flaked almond can be used to decorate the roof by slightly pressing them into the roof sections, pointy-end first. Bake all the sections for 12 mins or until firm and just a little darker at the edges. Then leave to cool and firm up completely before assembling. If the edges aren’t sharp enough, just trim them a bit.
Put the egg whites in a large bowl, beat them up a bit and sift in the icing sugar before beating up the egg whites into soft peaks. Your icing should be smooth and thick. Spoon it into a piping bag with a medium nozzle and pipe very generous snakes of icing along the wall edges to join the walls together (or just use a spoon if you don’t have a piping bag, it will just be a little more messy!). Use as many bowls and objects to support the walls from the inside or the outside, because this part is the most difficult… A friend is very useful too! Leave to dry for a few hours and fix the roof panels on. Then dry completely, ideally overnight.
Using the icing, stick sweets around the door, fingers on the wall, ice your trees… Finally, dust the roof with icing sugar for an adorable snowy effect.
Your gingerbread house will be edible for about a week but will last a lot longer.
(More photos on bcleem.tumblr.com!)
Adapted from Bbcgoodfood.com. The template can be downloaded from: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/sites/bbcgoodfood.com/files/editor_files/gingerbread-house-2576.pdf