Gingerbread houses are as essential as Christmas decorations in my house. A few years ago I had a romantic idea of making full-sized gingerbread houses with my kids. That is… one full sized house for each member of the family. I only had three kids at the time, but, as it turned out, that’s an awful lot of gingerbread cookie dough. I ended up rolling everyone out, because they got bored. Then I had to bake them all myself, because goldfish have a longer concentration span than my kids. I could hear their happy laughter as I slaved away in the kitchen, batch after batch. Sticking my head into the oven on a hot, 34 ºC day. I was so exhausted after all that, that it took me another three days until I braved decorating them.
I brought in reinforcements, in the form of my hubby, who dutifully kept the kids at the table until all the sweets were eaten and some of them put on the houses. I ended up icing them together, because once they had fallen down three times, the kids had had enough, were full of royal icing, sugared up to their gills and everyone, especially me, was close to tears! Merry Christmas…..ba humbug.
So this year, I have braved multiple gingerbread houses , but in mini form. I am making one each for the place settings at the Christmas dinner table. When the kids saw me start, they rushed in and begged to help, I gave them a bit of dough and the smell of it brought back the memories and they made a cute excuse and left.
I used the no-spread gingerbread cookie recipe here
- 1 egg white
- 400ml sifted icing sugar
- Beat egg white and half the icing sugar until well combined, add enough remaining icing sugar until the royal icing is thick enough to pipe without running all over the place.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC and grease three baking trays.
Roll out the dough between two pieces of baking paper and roll out to 3mm thick.
Using a template I downloaded here , I cut out the houses.
I made half of the houses into bird houses, so I cut out a hole for each house and rolled a perch for each one two. I cut a large circle for the base of the house.
Bake the cookies until golden around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Allow to cool and assemble by sticking them together with royal icing.
Fill a piping bag royal icing, you can cut a tiny hole at the end of the bag and you will not need to use a fancy icing nozzle.
Use a ruler and a craft knife to mark on the biscuit before you pipe, to give you a guide line while you are piping.
Fill with sweets and dust with icing sugar.