Mini Gingerbread Houses!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

I was never a fan of ginger. It was just strange, and I'd pick it out of everything. At Chinese restaurants, they serve steamed fish with soy sauce and so, so many matchsticks of ginger that it would take ages picking them off, separating them from the coriander and scallion curls that I liked. At home, I would make sure my mom left them in thick, thumb-sized chunks when she cooked, so that I could identify them easily and avoid them.

Then suddenly, I started eating pickled ginger. The thin slices of pink or yellow heaps in the corner of your sushi takeaway container. And it was delicious. I had to have it with my sushi, and it made me grumpy when it was an additional 30 cents if you just got a sushi roll as opposed to a box set, and it came for free. At sushi trains, they would have it going round and round on the conveyor belt, and I'd make sure I took one big spoonful of wasabi, and an even big spoonful of ginger.

So this year, I decided that I would make a gingerbread house. It was a big moment for me, because I'd had bad experiences with gingerbread before - the 2006 Gingerbread Disaster, I'm calling it, and last year while away at a friend's farm, there was a gingerbread house kit. It was just awful. The icing wouldn't set, everything kept falling off, the roof caved in, the walls caved in, icing was everywhere... But anyway, I was set on making my little house. And I wanted it to be little, because I like mini things.

So here are my mini gingerbread houses. They are on saucers, to give you an idea of their size.

Gingerbread House
Makes 4 mini gingerbread house

  • 150 g chopped butter
  • 150 g packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup golden syrup (spray the measuring cup with cooking spray first and the syrup will fall right off)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 3 ½ cups plain flour
For the icing:
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 egg white
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C or 150°C fan forced.
  2. Melt butter and combine in a medium saucepan with brown sugar, golden syrup and spices.
  3. Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl, add baking soda and stir. The mixture will foam and fizz.
  4. Beat egg and add to mixture until incorporated. Add flour, one cup at a time, until it is mixed thoroughly.
  5. When it's all mixed in, wrap it up tightly in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  6. Divide the dough into four workable bits. Roll one bit into a ball, and roll it out onto a lightly floured surface. Keep the other bits wrapped up tightly until you need them later. Your dough should be between 3 - 4mm thick. I like to use the chopstick method to ensure my dough is even. Place a chopstick of appropriate thickness on either side of your dough circle and then just roll with your rolling pin like normal - your dough will be wonderfully flat (:
  7. Using this template, cut out the shapes. If you want your house to be bigger or smaller, just add or subtract an inch from all sides. I'm using inches for because my ruler is in inches. I also scored my roof, which you don't have to do, and cut out a little door shape. 
  8. Line your baking tray with baking paper and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and trim 3mm from the sides of the roof and wall pieces so that everything will fit nicely. My door didn't work because I forgot that the dough would expand, so the expanded door-hole and expanded door didn't really work. So if you'd like a door, cut one out now (:
  10. Make your royal icing, by beating the egg white till stiff peaks form. Gradually add in the icing sugar.
  11. Assemble! Glue your pieces together, and then allow the icing to set by using cans or something heavy to hold your house together. I like to do the fiddly details of decorating while doing this as well, like outlining the doors and windows and piping on my roof decorations and whatnot. After your house has been cemented together properly, decorate using little sweets and chocolates however your heart desires! 
  12. Wrap it up in cellophane and it should keep for about 3 weeks! (:

And here's mine all wrapped up!

I also made a teeny tiny one to take to work! Here it is (:
It's very, very tiny - the m&ms are mini m&ms - and the side of the house is covered in a Curly Wurly - so about 3cm high!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! (: 
xxx gee

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