December 15

Gingerbread House

As discussed in my last post, I make a gluten free Gingerbread House each year. I usually do the piping and my girls do the decorating. My kids love decorating it, and take it very serious. We usually start off by selecting the chocolates and/or lollies, Then once we have a variety of chocolates and/or lollies we sit down and work out a design. They know exactly what they want!

To construct a Gingerbread House, you will need:

  • Cooked Gingerbread house* see recipe below. To get the shape / pieces use either a Gingerbread House cutter, or, make your own (use an old cereal carton for cardboard; cut out a house pattern (click here for a Gingerbread House Pattern that I designed from the measurements of my house cutter); cover in al-foil; then simply use a knife to carefully cut around house shapes) on the rolled dough. Tip: once you have cooked it leave it on the cooling racks for 24 hours to dry out.
  • Royal icing** see recipe below.
  • A piping bag or bags (or a freezer or ziplock bag with an edge cut off it) and selected tip/s (pick any tip/s to use).
  • Cake board or a chopping board covered in aluminium foil or glad wrap, or, wrapping paper and cellophane paper.
  • Clean / sterilized pins for a sneaky tricky tip to help you build the house!
  • Lollies** – any gluten free ones, basically whatever you like to eat.
  • Gingerbread cookies – any shape, if you want to decorate with them.
  • Extra icing sugar for dusting the Gingerbread House once it has dried.
  • Cellophane, and elastic and some Ribbon to wrap Gingerbread House til it’s eaten or gifted.

Gingerbread House

Prep timeCook timeTotal time
2 hours 45 mins15 min3 hours

Author: Tracey Francis of Essential Olie

Ingredients

  • 5 cups gluten free flour (sifted)*
  • 1 Tablespoon guar gum
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons ground all spice
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 Tablespoons ground ginger (use 3 Tablespoons if you like a hot ginger taste)
  • Small pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar (tightly packed)
  • 150g organic molasses (sulphur free)
  • 200g soft butter or nuttelex
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1 cup room temperature water

Method

  1. Sift by whisking together gluten free flour, guar gum, baking powder, baking soda, all spice, cinnamon and ginger in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl (for a mix master or hand beater) cream butter/nuttelex, brown sugar, vanilla powder and molasses til lighter in colour and fluffy (it should become a peanut butter colour).
  3. Slowly drizzle water whilst lightly mixing til combined, then beat on high speed til creamy. Make sure you use a splash guard just in case.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients (by the spoonful) til fully combined (just a light mix).
  5. Cover bowl with glad wrap / cling film then refrigerate for 2 hours.
  6. After 2 hours, remove bowl of dough from the refrigerator.
  7. Preheat oven at 170°C on fan bake.
  8. Divide the mixture into 3 batches (just so it’s easier to work with!).
  9. On a floured bench or board (I use some greaseproof paper and sprinkle/spread it with a little flour) knead to incorporate any unmixed sections, then with a rolling pin (floured) roll the mixture into 5-10mm thick pieces (I usually make mine around 5mm). Cut using your Gingerbread House cutters or pattern.** Tip: roll the off-cuts into the next batch of mixture and continue til all off-cuts are used.
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  11. Cool on a wire rack and leave to dry out for 24 hours.***

Royal Icing

Prep timeTotal time
20 mins30 min

This is the same recipe as posted last week with the Gingerbread Cookie post, however, I have doubled the ingredients so that there is plenty of royal icing for piping and decorating a gingerbread house.

Author: Tracey Francis of Essential Olie

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of pure icing sugar (sifted)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 egg whites

Method

  1. Sift icing sugar.
  2. Whisk together egg white and lemon juice til white and fluffy.
  3. Slowly add sifted icing sugar until all of the icing sugar is incorporated.
  4. Whisk until mix is light, smooth and glossy.
  5. Put into a piping bag or zip lock bag and pipe away*.

Notes

* If it’s too thick…add a drop or two or three of boiling water and whisk.
** When the icing gets warm it becomes hard to use as it starts to get too runny. If this happens put it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to cool down and it should be firmer again.

*** Our favourite lollies:

  • Organic Times – Little Gems – these are fabulous for my kids, as there are naturally coloured, as Charlotte is allergic to artificial colours.
  • Organic Times – Organic Vanilla Mallows OR My Homemade Marshmallows (homemade marshmallows should be consumed within a few days, so if making do it all last minute).
  • Organic Times – Dark Chocolate Drops
  • Organic Times – Dark Chocolate Drops
  • Click here to see a list of Nestle gluten free lollies which I sourced from their Australian website, you can also call to confirm that the list is still current.

****Construction

You can construct your Gingerbread House how you like, but if you have not done one before then this is how I like to put ours together.

Before you commence, make sure you position the length and front of the Gingerbread House on the board you are using. You can do this by marking the board with a dot of royal icing. This way you know the position of the house on the board, and if you want to leave enough room at the front of the house to decorate, then you can work it out before you start.

STEP ONE:

Pipe royal icing on each of the sides, the front and back of the Gingerbread House in any design you like. Then add your chosen chocolates/lollies. You secure all chocolates and lollies with the royal icing. I find it easier to pipe with these pieces down flat, which is why I do them first.

If you put a lot of piping on it, then leave it to dry before moving onto the next step. If you are able to pipe a Gingerbread House when it’s already constructed then skip this step.

 

STEP TWO (Front Piece):

Pipe royal icing thickly onto the base/bottom edge of the front piece.

Place the piece onto the board at the position you have marked for the front of the Gingerbread House. Remember: If you want to decorate the front of the board, make sure you place it in a position towards the back of the board, so that you will have enough room at the front of the board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP THREE (Side Piece):

Pipe royal icing thickly onto the base/bottom edge and the side that will be joined to the front piece (in step two).

Place the piece onto the board so that the edges of this piece and the front piece come together.

Use a pin to secure the side and front pieces together by pushing a a pin though the front piece so that it also goes through the side piece at the top and bottom. Only push it in halfway so that you remember where they are located so that you can pull it out later.

Tip: Leave the pins in until the royal icing on the fully constructed Gingerbread House has dried. This may take a few hours. Otherwise, push the pins in further and leave them in until you eat the Gingerbread House. Just remember to take them out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP FOUR (Side Piece):

Pipe royal icing thickly onto the base/bottom edge and the side of the other side piece that will be joined to the front piece (see steps two and three).

Place it on the board so that the edge of this piece and the front piece come join.

Use a pin to secure the side and front pieces together by pushing a a pin though the front piece so that it also goes through the side piece at the top and bottom. Only push it in halfway so that you remember where they are located so that you can pull it out later.

Tip: Leave the pins in until the royal icing on the fully constructed Gingerbread House has dried. This may take a few hours. Otherwise, push the pins in further and leave them in until you eat the Gingerbread House. Just remember to take them out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE (Back Piece):

Pipe royal icing thickly onto the board between the two side pieces and onto each of the sides that the back piece will join.

Place the back piece into the royal icing on the board and secure it with pins to each of the side pieces. Put a pin at the top and a pin at the bottom.

At this stage, you can now fill the house with chocolates or lollies if you wish. I personally don’t do this but my mum loves filling the inside of her Gingerbread Houses. She usually uses wrapped chocolates or lollies, so they don’t melt into a heaped mess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP SIX (Roof Piece):

Pipe a thick line of royal icing down one side of the front, side and back.

Secure roof piece with pins so that they go through the roof and into the front piece (use two pins – top and bottom) and through the roof into the back piece at the top and bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN (Roof Piece):

Pipe along the roof piece that has just been secured to the house so that this roof piece will stick. Also pipe a thick line on the other side of the front and back pieces and the top of the side piece.

Secure this roof piece with pins so that you have two going through the roof into the front piece of the house and two going through the roof into the back piece of the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP EIGHT (Chimney):

a) Pipe all sides of one of the side pieces that is angled so that it secures to the roof. Use a pin to secure it to the roof.

b) Pipe all sides of the other side piece that is angled so it is also secured to the roof. Use a pin to secure it to the roof.

c) Pipe the bottom of the long rectangular piece and secure it to the two already secured pieces with pins.

d) Pipe the bottom of one of the small square pieces and secure it to the three bases of the chimney that have already been secured with pins. Again, secure with pins to each side piece.

e) Pipe around the top of the chimney. Place the final piece on the top of the chimney. If you want it open, then don’t put this square on the top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP NINE:

You have now constructed your Gingerbread House and it’s time to have some creative fun and pipe the Gingerbread House and decorate with chocolates and lollies. Have fun!

Remember if the icing gets warm it goes a little runny and hard to use, so take a 5-10 minute break to pop it into the fridge then come back to your piping and decorating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP TEN:

Allow the Gingerbread House to fully dry then if you want to take the pins out at this stage then do, otherwise, leave and remember to take them out before eating. Place on cellophane then sprinkle with sifted icing sugar. Wrap it in the cellophane and secure at the top with an elastic band then a ribbon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You now have a lovely Gingerbread House. I would love to see photo’s! Tag me on instagram, email them to me, or tag me on Facebook.

I hope you enjoy making my version of a Gingerbread House, as much as we enjoy making ours every year.

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