Sunday, 18 December 2011

Gingerbread House - recipe

I made this LAST Christmas...I haven't made another one...I haven't got over this one yet, it was the hardest thing I ever made...not sure whether it was my lack of patience or inability to bake/construct a straight sided house (suspect the latter) but it was a swine very hard thing to put together.

The joy comes with sticking the sweet adornments on (for which you need to take a bank loan out at today's prices) and eating the leftovers. Here is how you can make one, but don't blame me when you are pulling your hair out!

You will need to allow about 3 days (not full days granted) to make this one, make the gingerbread and bake the house; day two assemble the house and prepare the garden cake board; day three get hiding all the mistakes you have made decorating with sweets and finishing off etc. If you follow this rule it should help and when you get to the fun bit of decorating *laughs hysterically* the children can help you.
1 baked Gingerbread house
1 pkt Jelly Babies baby formed sweets
1 pkt red line like sweet things
1 pkt Dolly Mixtures square/round coloured sweets
1 pkt Haribo Jelly sweets
1 pkt Smarties coloured chocolate beans
1 pkt liquorice Catherine wheels
1 Cadburys chocolate flake
Cupcake confetti
One vat full of royal icing
Sugarpaste flowers/butterflies (home made ones)
1 quantity of green sugar paste
Edible cake glitter
Icing sugar to dust
1 cake board, size to suit
To assemble:
1 large tin of 'the patience of a saint'
Alcohol of your choice (NOT for the children or house)
1. Start (day one) by making your gingerbread house. At this point I would advise extra care and attention when making and baking the house, if you take on a 'devil may care' approach to this like me some reckless home bakers, it will turn out wonky and will not stick together. Baker be warned! The recipe for the gingerbread to make the house was from the Good Food Channel here. The template for the house is here.
2. Once the house is made and has cooled, (day two) its time to pour yourself a stiff drink and try and assemble the damm do this, firstly, choose an evening when you've had a particularly bad day at work and you want to relax a bit by being creative in the kitchen. Take every tin of canned food you have in your cupboards out, as you will need these to shore up and support the sides/roof and anything else as you assemble.
Use royal icing (icing sugar plus egg white and glycerine mixed to a thick consistency) as the cement for the sides and roof. If all else fails swear a lot use lots and lots as a) its Christmas and b) it shows heavily in Lancashire and it adds to the authenticity of the final effect. 
Use the tins to help keep everything together as the icing sets. If you do manage to assemble this its best to leave it overnight to harden. 
Have another drink when you have done it as you will need it.
4. Next, prepare a base with a cake board of suitable size. Roll out some green sugar paste icing and cover the board (brush board with water first), trim with a sharp knife as you would a pastry lined dish.
5. (Day three) Alcohol is optional on this day! Place your house on top of the green base, towards the back to allow for a front path, and secure with royal icing under the house.
6. The EASIEST part of this whole operation is the actual decoration. Either pipe lines of royal icing onto the roof or use a knife to add icing onto sweets in order to stick them on in rows or randomly. OR you could use cake glue if you prefer. 
You can use any kind of sweets or chocolate you like as anything looks good on this. Use the red line sweet things to make window frames and a door. 
Decorate the sides with the liquorice Catherine wheels to imitate badly made windows.
7. Add sugar paste flowers for the garden and dot a few sugar paste butterflies around (put a very large butterfly on the roof so your hubby can mock its pterodactyl like form). 
Make a path by smearing royal icing and covering this with cupcake confetti for a fancy gravel effect. 
Add the chimney (a flake) to the roof and secure with a dab or royal icing.
8. For a final flourish and to hide a multitude of failures dust with lots of icing sugar and sprinkle with edible 
cake glitter. I swear they will be so wowed by the glitter and sweets they won't see the rest. Oh, and don't bother to add the gingerbread men you made as their necks have broken and their heads snapped off, as the cutter you used was rubbish!
When its finished, pour another stiff drink, sit back and admire your
creation and say a little thanks (to whoever?) that luckily the child
you made this for is only 2.5 years old. And she won't notice how
bad it really looks, as she'll be too busy picking jelly babies off the
roof (only she will need help to do so with artex-like icing)...then have a couple of nights without sleep worrying about the effect of all this on the same child's teeth. (no she didn't really eat either all the sweets or the whole house).

I am entering this post in the Gingerbread House link up run jointly by Jude, Kate and Jamie...luckily there is no lost prize to cry over but I wanted to show even a disaster can prove to be something of a success at Christmas.
Merry Christmas everyone x

N.B. This post was not sponsored by anyone whatsoever and certainly not any sweetie or electric toothbrush manufacturers.


  1. Just amazing! Though I am not sure I would have the patience!

  2. Thanks for giving me a laugh, I've never made one and now I will approach with caution!!!

  3. Susan, it's a very lovely house and I take my hat off to you and to all gingerbread house makers. I just couldn't do it - I do not have the patience. But I do think they are wonderful and I'm sure any child would. Well done you - be proud

  4. I enjoyed reading this post. It sounds like a LOT of work but it really does look beautiful.

  5. Great post! :) Its a very beautiful gingerbread house but I feel your pain. I made my first one a few years ago and have never made another one. Mine turned out muc, much worse than yours. I love the butterflies and flowers :)

  6. I see what you mean now! Most frustrating thing ever.. Yours is wonderful though. Mine is too soft? Any ideas? I did see someone online said to put it back in the overn ay 90 for 10 mins - would you reccomend?

  7. I hated making mine, I am great in the kitchen but hate fiddly stuff! NO patience! This is so pretty!

  8. Sue, Is it wrong of me to only want to look at your amazing creation but to never ever try it myself. I'm exhausted just looking at the list of instructions!

  9. I so admire your attempt to make one, I have not dared try yet - maybe next year I will get the courage to.

  10. Brilliantly honest post, and something I can totally identify with after making a gingerbread house last year! This year I made all my gingerbread but then just as I was getting the royal icing out of the cupboard, all the stress came flooding back and I decided to sack it off and just eat the sweets!! Your house looks brilliant and I can't believe you are considering it a disaster! Here's hoping my new year's resolution of being more patient will last until next Christmas so I can make another one!


Please leave a comment...if you have tried one of my recipes I'd love feedback, and thank you for taking time to pop by to read my blog.

Susan x