Remember my printable from the start of December – 50 Pick ‘n’ Mix Christmas Activities? Well, this is going down well at home and here is one that I can share with you – our gingerbread house!
We did cheat a bit and buy a gingerbread house kit from the supermarket, but with my mojo at an all time low, I wanted to still be able to finally make a gingerbread house, even if it wasn’t from scratch.
For £4.99, the kit consisted of 6 pieces of gingerbread shapes to construct the house, royal icing to ‘glue’ it all together and sweets to decorate with. I guessed that there wouldn’t be enough icing to finish the whole thing, and I was right, but luckily I had some royal icing powder on standby to whip up another batch.
To start with, you have to construct the house. There are instructions on the back of the box which I just ignored :P Typical me! Piping icing down the sides of the end pieces of the house, I then stood them up on a white display platter and held the side panels in place for a few moments whilst they started to dry. Royal icing does set quite quickly, so you have to move quickly when constructing!
To attach the roof, more icing was piped onto the top edges of the end panels and then the roof put into place. When secure I piped ‘snow’ along the top and added some heart shaped sweets. I then ran out of icing and so went off to make another batch.
You can make royal icing using ready prepared icing sugar for this purpose – it saves having to faff about with egg white or egg white powder. Just follow the instructions on the box, and make sure that you beat it for long enough so that it holds peaks – you don’t want it slopping all over the place.
I filled a food bag with my royal icing and snipped off the tip to continue piping a snow effect along the edges of the house.
For the finer detail, I used a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle attached. This particular gingerbread house had features embossed onto it which made decorating super easy. I then added sweeties to decorate – do this as you go along, again because of the quick drying icing, if you do it all and then decide to add sweeties, you’re going to have a bad time! By then the icing will have formed a crust and they won’t stay in place as well.
While I was decorating the house, my husband was decorating gingerbread men (#3 on my list), my son, as a teenager, didn’t really want to know – but was quite happy to eat a piece of gingerbread!
To finish off, I piped icicles to dangle from the eaves of the roof. To create them, as you pipe down, pull away and it will form the shape you need.
I used up the remaining icing to create a snowing front for the house, complete with sweetie stepping stones and one of hub’s gingerbread me to welcome guests to his home!
We love our gingerbread house and so please, that after many years of saying we’ll make one, we finally have! It’s taking pride of place on the dining table at the moment, looking after the stash of Christmas goodies we’ve bought for entertaining this holiday season!
Have you made and/or decorated a gingerbread house?
This post is part of Cook, Craft, Create: December 2013, why not check out the other ideas this season?