Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, my first ever attempt at the gingerbread construction industry.
It took me pretty much the good part of a day getting the architectural plans from Martha Stewart, the foundation mixture together from Donna Hay, and the exterior decorating and landscape gardening done.
After 2 rounds of putting the roof on, and the house collapsing, I made my cement (royal icing) a bit more runny, and eventually got everything to stay in place.
I wanted to stick on pretzels all around the sides to make it look like a log cabin, but after my epic cooking efforts on Saturday, and not having any pretzels in the house… there was a big case of the C.B.F.s
Mum wanted me to add more lollies to the side of the house, but I didn’t want one of those super tacky, over candied houses. I’m very happy with the end results. As to whether I’d do one again… I would say yes. But I would make sure I wasn’t planning on cooking 2 other things on the same day!
1.2kg (7 1/2 cups) plain flour
3 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda, sifted
1 1/2 cups (265g) brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger, sifted
1 2/3 cups (580g) golden syrup
4 cups (640g) icing sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
assorted lollies to decorate
1. Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan-forced. Place half the flour and bicarbonate of soda in the bowl of a food processor with half the sugar, ginger, butter and golden syrup. Process until dough just starts to come together, turn out and set aside. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
2. Combine both quantities of dough and knead to bring together. Divide dough into thirds. Lightly grease three 40cm x 30cm cookie trays (your trays should have a lip them). Divide dough between trays and press into tray, smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Bake, in batches, for 25-30 mintues or until dark golden. Turn out onto wire racks and allow to cool completely. (I cut out my walls and windows instead of baking slab pre-casts).
3. To make the icing, place the sugar, eggwhites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 4-5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Place the icing in a piping bag with a 1cm round nozzle.
4. To assemble:
a) Use a large serrated knife and cut each gingerbread sheet in half. Use a ruler as a guide. Set aside four halves; two for the walls and two for the roof.
b) Use the serrated knife to cut two even-sized triangles from the top of the remaining two halves to create the side walls of the house and discard the triangles.
c) Secure one of the rectangular walls and one of the side walls to a cake board with the icing and allow to dry until firm. Support the walls against a tall jar until the icing is dry.
d) Secure the other rectangular wall and remaining side wall to the board and exisiting walls using the icing. Again, use some tall jars as support and allow the icing to dry completely before the next step.
e) Secure each of the roof pieces to the sides of the house suing the icing and allow to dry completely.
The roof on, before it collapsed for the first time.
f) Decorate with remaining icing and lollies.
Voila! Bon Appétit!