How to create a National Trust gingerbread house
Create a generic gingerbread house and then transform it with a National Trust feel. Which of the houses we care for in the South West will you recreate with gingerbread?
- 600g strong plain flour
- 2 egg yolks
- 175ml golden syrup
- 115g dark brown sugar
- 115g butter
- 4 tsp of bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in 4 teaspoons of water
- 4 tsp of ground ginger
- 2 tsp of mixed spice
- 500g white ready to roll icing
- 250g pink ready to roll icing
- 250g red ready to roll icing
- 250g green ready to roll icing
- 250g purple ready to roll icing
- 300g chocolate ready to roll icing
- 300g light brown ready to roll icing
- 200g dark chocolate
- White royal icing
- Take your flour, ginger and mixed spice and sieve it together. Transfer to a large heat-proof bowl.
- Combine the sugar, golden syrup and butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Don’t allow the mixture to boil and stir until you have a smooth, sticky liquid.
- Whisk your egg yolks.
- Make a well in the middle of your flour mix and add the melted syrup mix, egg yolks and the bicarbonate of soda.
- Stir well to combine then, ensuring the mix is cool enough to touch, use your hands to knead the mixture into dough.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and set to one side for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180oC/350oF.
- Take some sheets of baking paper and sketch two side walls, two end walls and two roof panels onto your baking paper and cut them out.
- Break off a third of your gingerbread dough and roll it out to a depth of 5mm.
- TOP TIP: Gingerbread can get sticky when rolling so to help you avoid tears and splits dust two sheets of baking paper with a little icing sugar, place the dough between them and then roll the dough out. Remove the top sheet when you are ready to cut the dough.
- If your baking sheet is large enough, use the baking paper templates to cut out the sections of the gingerbread house. If not do a few at a time.
- Lay your gingerbread sections on your baking tray. Gingerbread expands during baking so be sure to leave ample space between pieces to avoid them fusing together.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until a golden brown colour.
- If needed repeat for the other sections then leave to cool on a wire rack.
- A few days before you begin decorating roll out your white ready to roll icing and cover a cake board to serve as the foundation for the house and its garden area. Set this aside and allow it to harden.
- Pipe a pattern which runs around the house onto the gingerbread walls using royal icing and a number 1.5 piping tube. You can make this as simple or complex as you like. Use it to partition the eaves and attic area of the panels from the main walls.
- To make windows knead your pink ready to roll icing until it’s nice and pliable, then roll it out on to your work surface. Using a square cutter press out as many windows as you want. Brush the back of each square with cooled boiled water and fix them into place on the walls.
- Pipe royal icing onto the window panes to create the frames.
- Roll out your red icing and cut out a door shape using a knife or cutter. To add texture use a knife to divide the door into panels. Use some water to fix a small ball of purple icing to the door to act as a handle.
- If you're making this at Christmas, fashion a small Christmas wreath out of some green ready to roll icing and fix into place on the door.
- Fix the door to the front panel of the house using your cooled, boiled water and then pipe some small beads of royal icing across the door’s lintel to give it a snowy effect.
- Knead and roll out your chocolate icing to a depth of about 2mm. Then using a small square cutter press out roof tiles. Fix these onto the roof panels, again using water, overlapping them for a rustic, tiled roof feel.
- Melt your dark chocolate in a bowl over some boiling water, this will act as a cement to fix the panels together.
- Place your wall panels on the cake board using melted chocolate to glue them together. Support the walls with dry sponges until the chocolate hardens.
- Fix the roof panels to the walls using melted chocolate.
- Once the roof section is set in place create a ridge to run along the roof apex. Roll out a sausage of red icing and fix it into place. Alternatively you can braid together a sausage of red and white icing to form a twist.
- Now to decorate the gables cut out some semi circles of red icing and attach them to the front and back gables with cooled, boiled water.
- Roll out your light brown icing and cut out a path shape with a sharp knife. Fix into place leading up to the door and border it with two thin sausages of green icing.
- Take your green icing and divide into several small sections, rolling each into a ball in your hands. Gently fashion each into a cone shape, flattening the bottom of each. Then snip the edges with scissors to feather the icing and create tiny trees. Glue them into place using water.
Give it a National Trust twist
Cotehele. Every Christmas our gardeners make a stunning 60 foot Christmas garland to adorn this beautiful Tudor house. Create your own by crafting icing flowers and draping them around the entrance way to your gingerbread house.