A belated Merry Christmas and some gingerbread house tips!

Wow, long time between posts… this is my favourite time of the year, but sometimes it does get so busy and just fly by!  I really wanted to share this, my first ever gingerbread house, before Christmas – but that didn’t happen. So I guess I’ll share it now just to hang onto the Christmas spirit for a bit longer, and you can have some very early tips for next year’s Christmas baking! (Or I guess you could just make a house whenever you like – gingerbread is tasty any time of the year, right?!)

So here it is, the finished work:

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I’m pretty proud of it, especially for a first attempt – it just goes to show you don’t have to have a lot of experience to make an awesome gingerbread house!

So, here’s some tips to make it work for you:

  1. Search around Pinterest or google some ideas for gingerbread houses first – you may even find patterns with dimensions which makes it really easy to construct something neat!
  2. Don’t roll your gingerbread too thin. Remember it’s essentially building material – it needs to be strong!
  3. Give your gingerbread time to dry out before you assemble your house. A few hours or even overnight is fine! Again, it needs to be tough.
  4. Decorate any vertical/angled pieces e.g. walls while they are still flat – it’ll stop your icing running everywhere.
  5. Speaking of icing, you should use royal icing – the egg white will give your icing much more body and strength to hold up your house!
  6. While you’re at it, don’t go lightly on the icing – make sure your house is well stuck together.
  7. Construct the house gradually – e.g. stand up the walls, then wait to dry before you add the roof. It’s better if you let the icing set to make sure your walls are strong. Be patient!
  8. Go as crazy with the decorations as you like, but remember simple can be effective too! As you can see, my house is on a really big cake board, so I decorated the space around it too.  To make some special decorations:
    1. Cut holes in your unbaked gingerbread and place a barley sugar or similar hard boiled lolly in there while the biscuit bakes to make windows!
    2. Bend candy canes as I’ve done around the door, and to make swirls on top of some of the little stars – this takes a bit of practice to get the candy at the right temperature to not be brittle, nor so soft as to melt completely, but looks really effective.

And finally – some progress shots and different angles! The roof in particular is my favourite part 🙂

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Let me know if you have any questions!

Happy baking!

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