Over the last year or so, I have become more and more into baking and I love creating tasty treats for my loved ones to enjoy. Unfortunately, I am not someone who can ‘have their cake and eat it’ as every sugary bite goes straight to my hips (and bum…and tummy…etc etc!)!!!
Christmas is a time where there are scrumptious, calorie laden delicacies to tempt even the strongest willed person at every turn and like the best of them, I love to get stuck into some festive baking. In order to enjoy some time in the kitchen but hold off piling on the pounds for as long as possible, I decided to try my hand at a gingerbread house this year as a decoration for my dining room rather than for eating!
I know there are many people out there who use gingerbread house kits however, I just couldn’t help thinking that using a kit with ready made gingerbread was cheating – I really am a glutten for punishment sometimes!! I couldn’t resist the idea of cooking one from scratch after seeing the beautiful creations of the ‘Great British Bake Off’ contestants earlier this year. I came across this recipe from BBC Good Food and it really is pretty simple and easy to follow however, I did come across a few stubling blocks along the way….precision isn’t one of my strong points and for this kind of bake, it is something I would thoroughly recommend! Luckily I had my calm and patient other half to help me along the way.
A few tips to make for a foolproof construction:
- Do not open the packets of sweets for decorating the house when you begin baking. If your household is anything like mine, they will miraculously dissapear!
- The use of a stencil comes highly recommended! Remember not to throw the stencils away when you are baking the gingerbread as you will need to trim it once it has cooled slightly as it will expand a little during cooking.
- Using flaked almonds for the roof tiles really is quite time consuming. If you don’t have time to spare, use a sharp knife to score tiles into the roof instead or using chocolate buttons is another option.
- Be aware that making a gingerbread house takes time! For a quicker option…..buy one from Aldi for under £10.
- Shot glasses are the perfect size to prop the walls up when waiting for the icing to dry.
- Best not to leave the decorating until the next day when you are feeling the after effects of a few glasses of vino….creating icicles is not that easy without steady hands!
- Instead of using rough icing as snow on the ground, do it the lazy way and use desicated coconut.
- Make sure all the pieces fit together nicely before you start constructing the house. Luckily for us we had a flake to hand for a gaping hole in the middle of the roof!
- Use any extra gingerbread to make people, christmas trees, snowmen etc etc.
- Cut holes in the walls prior to making and pop a boiled sweet in the hole for a stained glass effect window.
Far from perfect but not too bad for a first attempt! Happy (somewhat belated) Christmas everyone! This is one for the binder for next year!