Let’s get this out of the way first.
We didn’t win the Sykes Cottages Gingerbread house competition 🙁
I don’t mind of course…it was great fun! Just dreading telling the kids…but it will be a great opportunity to sprout off (I’m seeing how many random Christmassy words I can get in my posts before Christmas) a motivational quote.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love my quotes?
Today’s will be from Winston Churchill himself:
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”.
This will also give me the opportunity for a quick history lesson, when they ask ‘who’s Winston Churchill?’.
But I digress.
Is there any biscuit more Christmassy than gingerbread?
Just the smell of it, baking in the oven, is enough to create memories for a lifetime.
Gingerbread is steeped in history, even quoted in a Shakespeare play. Yet it is so very easy to make, and great fun to decorate.
Why not enlist some enthusiastic little helpers and make your own?
Gingerbread House Biscuits – makes 8-10 Biscuits
You will need:
225g/8oz Plain Flour
100g/4oz Unsalted Butter
15ml/1 tbsp Ground Ginger
2.5ml /½ tsp Mixed Spice (optional)
5ml/1 tsp Baking Powder
75g/3oz Caster Sugar
30ml/2 tbsp Golden Syrup
Baking Tray – approximately 40x30cm
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C Fan) or Gas Mark 4.
Sift together the flour, spices and baking powder into a large bowl.
In a pan, place the butter, sugar and syrup and heat gently until melted.
Set the pan aside and leave to cool for a few minutes. Whilst cooling, cut 2 pieces of greaseproof paper to fit the baking tray.
Once cooled slightly, pour the butter, sugar and syrup into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon.
The mixture will start to stick together.
Continue, by using hands, and knead the dough until a smooth ball.
Squash the ball down, slightly, onto one sheet of greaseproof paper.
Roll the dough to cover the paper.
Trim off the rough edges of dough to make a large square.
Then cut again into 4 smaller squares.
Cut each smaller square to make into the shape of a house.
Place the leftover dough onto the second sheet of paper. Knead and repeat the process. There may be a little dough left. Chill and use later, or repeat again.
Place the greaseproof paper, with the biscuit dough on top, directly onto a baking tray and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
Once baked, leave for a few minutes on the tray, to rest, and then lift the paper onto a cooling rack.
Leave the biscuits to cool completely.
Now for the fun bit! Time to decorate!
There are no set rules to decorating the houses. A little imagination and whatever is in the cupboard should be enough to create a fantastic biscuit. Basic items such as Icing sugar, chocolate and sprinkles all work really well.
This house was decorated by piping royal icing onto the biscuit. Chopped marshmallow was placed on top of the icing.
Alternatively white chocolate looks and tastes great. Melt the chocolate, cool slightly and spread over the biscuit.
Leave to set before piping over the top.
These biscuits are great just as biscuits, but can also be baked with a hole in the top. Thread string through and voila you have very tasty tree-decorations!
(The biscuits will last for up to 5-days in a airtight container)
** Please note that I am not a qualified nutritionist or professional cook. My recipes are what I put together at home and all amounts etc… are approximate. What I write is my own experience of cooking the recipe. Ovens and ingredients do vary – just go with it, have fun and apply common sense at all times! Practice makes perfect!**