- 1kg plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
- 300g cold butter, diced
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 2 tbsp mixed spice
- 2 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…
- 450g light soft brown sugar
Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…
- 3 large eggs
The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…
- 225g golden syrup
Golden syrup is a clear, sparkling, golden-amber coloured, sweet…
- 300g royal icing sugar
- few ping-pong-size balls of regal icing, wrapped in cling film
Put about half the flour in a food processor with the butter and whizz until you can’t see any lumps of butter remaining. Mix the remaining flour, spices and bicarb together with a pinch of salt. Tip both the floury mixtures into your largest mixing bowl and stir in the sugar. (If you don’t have a food processor, rub the butter into all of the flour until it resembles fine crumbs. Then stir in the spices, bicarb and sugar.) Whisk the eggs with the golden syrup and stir into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon. Using your hands, knead together into a smooth dough.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Roll a quarter of the dough out at a time on a sheet of baking parchment, to the thickness of 2 x £1 coins. Use a small, sharp knife to cut around the house templates (see tips, below)– remember that each time you’ll need 2 x A, 2 x B and 2 x C for one house. Remove trimmings and lift the gingerbread, on its parchment, onto baking trays. Re-roll trimmings to cut out all the shapes you need.
Bake the gingerbread one tray at a time on a high shelf in the oven for 8-10 mins, until a lovely, rich brown and firm to the touch. As soon as each tray is baked, carefully sit the templates back onto the relevant shapes and trim any edges to neaten. Use a cutter to stamp out any windows or cut away any doors with a small, sharp knife. Let all the biscuits cool completely.
Sieve the royal icing sugar into a bowl and stir in dribbles of water until you have a stiff icing. Spoon some into a food bag (cover the rest), snip the tiniest bit off the corner and pipe any icing decorations you want onto the gingerbread. Leave to dry.
Arrange the wall biscuits as you are going to assemble them, then pipe icing along the side edges and stick the walls together. Pipe extra icing where the walls join each other on the inside of the house, and support the sides using your icing balls. Leave for a few hrs until set.
Once dry, stick on the roofs, as above – you may need to hold the biscuits on firmly for a few mins until the icing starts to set – or shape your icing balls to support the edges of the roof. Set overnight, then use any remaining royal icing to help you decorate your houses with sweets and sprinkles.
Making a templateTo make our dinky Swedish-style house, download and print our template and follow the method above.
Leftover trimmings?Re-roll, stamp into gingerbread men, and bake in the same way as the gingerbread houses.
Decorate your housesTo decorate your gingerbread: Buy sweets, jars of sprinkles and edible glitter; Keep the window shapes you've cut out and stick them back; Water down the icing and brush all over the roof, dredging in places; Dust icing sugar for a snow effect.