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GINGERBREAD HOUSE

FOR THE HOUSE

  • 175g/6oz butter, softened
  • 175g/6oz light muscovado sugar
  • 450g/1lb plain flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 sheet cardboard
  • 28cm x 33cm covered board
  • 600g assorted sweets
  • pure icing sugar for dusting

ICING

  • 2 egg whites
  • 500g pure icing sugar, sifted

Tip the butter and sugar into a large bowl and beat for about 3 minutes with an electric hand whisk, or a bit longer with a wooden spoon, until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs. Sift the flour, baking powder and ginger into the bowl, then stir into the creamed mixture with a wooden spoon to form a dough.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead briefly into a smooth ball. Wrap in cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cut cardboard into a 20cm square and a 20cm equilateral triangle.

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Roll one dough portion on a piece of baking paper large enough to cut out one square and one triangle. Cut shapes from dough using cardboard patterns. Slide shapes, still on baking paper, onto an oven tray. Repeat with remaining dough and cardboard patterns. Cut out door and window from one triangle; bake door with shapes.

Bake door for about 15 minutes and larger shapes for about 20 minutes or until firm. Stand 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks.

ICING: Beat egg whites in a small bowl with an electric mixer until just frothy, gradually beat in enough sifted icing sugar until mixture forms stiff peaks. Keep icing covered with plastic on the surface to prevent drying.

Spread a thin layer of icing on the covered board as a non-slip base. Trim shapes to form straight edges, if needed. Assemble gingerbread house on the board as shown in the picture, using icing to secure the pieces together. Spoon icing into a piping bag, pipe along all joins as pictured. Position the door in place with Icing. Decorate the house with sweets, attaching with icing. Dust house all over with sifted icing sugar.

The Gingerbread recipe is from BBC Good Food Magazine Christmas 1998 and the design is from The Women’s Weekly Christmas and Holiday Entertaining 2008


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