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Gingerbread House

About this recipe: This is one my mum used to make when we were kids and now my kids are doing their own. This is a nice basic construction but you make your house more elaborate as you get more familiar with the process. Use your imagination and a variety of lollies to make doors, windows, pathways and a garden. Make time over two days to make this as the gingerbread needs to sit overnight after cooking.

Ruth

Ingredients
Serves: 10 

  • 3/4 cup (190g) butter
  • 140g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 medium lemon, juiced (30ml)
  • 1/2 cup (155g) golden syrup or molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups (375g) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 6 egg whites
  • 4 boxes (total 2kg) icing sugar, sifted

Directions
Prep:2days  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Extra time:30min  ›  Ready in:2days1hr 

  1. First cut out in thin cardboard: a side wall - 11.5x20cm; a rectangular end wall - 11.5x13cm; a triangular gable - 11.5x7.5x7.5 cm; and a roof rectangle -11.5x22cm. Tape the rectangular end wall piece to the triangular gable piece: match the long side of the triangle, (11.5cm) to one of the 11.5cm sides of the end wall.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in lemon rind, lemon juice, and molasses. Gradually beat in 2 eggs. Sift the flour, baking powder, and spices together; stir into creamed mixture. Add more flour if needed to make a firm dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 6 portions, 2 slightly larger than the others. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the 4 smaller pieces to approximately the size of the side wall and the end wall with gable templates; cut out two of each. Roll out remaining dough, and cut into two rectangular roof pieces. Transfer gingerbread onto greased baking trays.
  4. In a preheated oven - 190 degrees C - bake gingerbread for 10 minutes, or until crisp. When removing from the oven, leave the gingerbread on the baking trays for a few minutes to set, then transfer to wire racks. Leave out overnight to harden.
  5. In a large bowl, lightly whisk 2 egg whites. Gradually beat in approximately 5 cups icing sugar. The icing should be smooth and stand in firm peaks. Spread or pipe a 9 inch line of icing onto a cake board, and press in one of the side walls so that it sticks firmly and stands upright. If necessary, spread or pipe a little extra icing along either side to help support it. Take an end wall and ice both the side edges. Spread or pipe a line of icing on the board at a right angle to the first wall, and press the end wall into position. Repeat this process with the other two walls until they are all in position.
  6. Leave the walls to harden together for at least two hours before putting on the roof. Spread or pipe a thick layer of icing on top of all the walls, and fix the roof pieces in position; the roof should overlap the walls to make the eaves. Pipe or spread a little icing along the crest of the roof to hold the two pieces firmly together. Leave overnight to set firmly.
  7. When ready to decorate, make the remaining icing. In a large bowl, lightly whisk 4 egg whites, and mix in remaining icing sugar as before or you may want to make several bowls for different coloured icing. Use to make snow on the roof and other external decoration. Use various lollies for decoration as well. Finish with a fine dusting of sifted icing sugar.

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