By Mike on Sunday, December 21, 2008, 23:31 - Permalink
Christmas is nearly here! - It's the 21st of December 2008. Nearly everything is ready, but there's just time to make one more treat - a gingerbread house.
The recipe is based on traditional German/Austrian Lebkuchen - those soft, cake-like spiced cookies -often coated in dark chocolate or studded with candied fruits.
- 350g Plain flour
- 250g Light Soft Brown Sugar
- 50g Honey
- 50g Soft butter
- 2 Large eggs
- 1 Teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 Teaspoon ground mixed spices
- 1 Teaspoon of baking powder
All of the ingredients go straight into a large mixing bowl and are combined together using a wooden spoon or a table knife.
When thoroughly mixed, it will look like chunky crumbs.
At this point, knead it together into a single ball of dough by hand.
Cover the dough and put it in the fridge for half an hour - meanwhile, cut out some templates for the pieces of the house.
These (clockwise from top left) are approximately: 15 x 20cm, 15 x 15cm and 12 x 8cm.
Roll the dough out to about 1cm thick on a well-floured surface, lay the template on top and trim around it with a very sharp knife and/or pizza cutting wheel.
Transfer the cut shape to a lightly oiled cookie sheet, then carefully peel off the paper template (if you take it off beforehand, the dough shape will be almost impossible to move intact).
After moving the pieces to the sheet, I cut some window holes in them using a small square cutter. A single hard candy fruit drop in each one would probably melt and form a window, but I didn't dare, this time...
Bake in an oven at 180c for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown and fairly firm.
After removing from the oven, leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack - use a pallete knife or other flat implement to ease the cookies off the sheet, as necessary.
I stuck mine together using a thick royal icing mix (powdered sugar, dried egg white and a little water). A rubber band holds the walls in place temporarily while the icing sets.
The two roof panels were kept from slipping off by 'nailing' them together, using cocktail sticks pushed into gumdrops.
Some of the icing dripped and ran a little, but I think it just looks like icicles - in fact, I'll probably add some more before serving it.
Then the house can be decorated any way you like - I used the rest of the royal icing to make some drippy icicles and also to stick on lots of pieces of dolly mixtures. Finished off with a dusting of icing sugar for snow.
I might add some more decoration to it later - other possibilities include: other types of candy, glazed marzipan shapes, piped icing designs...