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Monday, 3 December 2007

Sweet Shop Gingerbread Cottage

Front view of cottage

Time is marching on into the festive season and I have always wanted to bake my own gingerbread house. I thought this would be an apt time to try my hand at baking my own and have fun in the kitchen sticking on all those wonderful sweets. No I didn’t eat one, now how very restrained of me don’t you think? *giggle*. This would be a fun packed project to make with children letting them design their own theme of where to place their sweets. The only draw back is the waiting time in-between for the icing to set on the walls and roof.

Back & side view of cottage

Sweet Shop Gingerbread Cottage


For The Gingerbread
150g (6 oz) butter
150g (6 oz) soft brown sugar
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1½ tbsp lemon juice
100g (4 oz) black treacle
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
300g (12 oz) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground ginger – (yes correct quantity)
2 tsp mixed spice
For The Royal Icing
6 large egg whites
1.8kg (4lb) icing sugar
To Decorate
2 medium bags of chocolate buttons - for roof
Silver balls
Few sprinkles
Chocolate fingers - for door & logs
Iced gem biscuits
Sugar coated chocolate drops – smarties
Pink marshmallows
2 candy canes
Edible glitter
Coloured fondant icing to make snowman & gingerbread man (optional)
You will also need a 10 in cake board – larger if you can find one
A little festive ribbon for around the outside base of the board


First cut out the shapes of the house onto card or thin plastic. Make 2 sidewalls 11x 20cm (4½ x 8in); 2 end walls 11x13cm (4½ x 5 in) plus a triangular gable, 8cm (3 in) on one each side; and 2 rectangles for the roof 11 x 23cm (4½ x 9 in).

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and juice and the treacle. Sieve the flour, baking powder, ginger and mixed spice and fold into the creamed mixture. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently before wrapping in cling film and placing into the fridge for at least 1 hour to chill, (the dough will be to soft to roll until it has had sufficient chilling time).

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas mark 5. Line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper.

Take the dough out of the fridge and unwrap onto a floured surface. Cut into 6 portions making 2 portions larger for the roof sections. Roll out each piece and cut around the templates. Carefully lift the pieces onto lined baking trays and any trimmings can be cut into gingerbread people. Bake the gingerbread for about 10 minutes or until a nice golden colour.

Leave the gingerbread to cool for a little while on the baking trays (if you lift them off straight away they may break up and they need a little time to harden first).
Place onto a wire rack to completely cool and harden.

Lightly whisk 2 egg whites, then add one-third of the icing sugar a little at a time, beating well until the icing is smooth and stands in firm peeks. Spread or pipe using a plain tip, a line of icing on the cake board and press in one of the sidewalls so that it sticks firmly and stands up. You may have to pipe a little extra icing along either side of each edge. Spread or pipe a line of icing at right angles to the first wall and press into position. Repeat the process with the other 2 walls until they are in perfect position. You will need to leave the walls at least two hours to harden before placing the roof on. Cover the icing with a damp tea towel to keep it soft.

Carefully spread or pipe a think layer on top of the walls and fix the roof into position – it should overlap slightly to make the eaves. Pipe or spread a little icing along the top of the roof to hold the 2 pieces firmly together. Leave the house to dry overnight.

To decorate the cottage, whisk the remaining egg whites and add the icing sugar as above to make a thick icing. Use this icing to stick on the roof tiles (chocolate buttons) the iced biscuits for the roof and use all the other sweets and silver balls as in the picture. Ice a few icicles from the bottom of the roof and place a few silver balls in. Use the chocolate fingers for the doors and logs.

If making fondant figures, shape into a snowman and a gingerbread man, cover the remaining base of the board in icing and stick the figures down. You could use a little fondant icing to keep the candy canes in place. . Dust the house over with edible glitter and dot a few sprinkles around the base. Fix the festive ribbon around the outside base of the cake board.

I covered my house in florist clear wrap to keep it dust free and edible to eat.

Store away from any damp areas.


Jeena said...

Rosie WOW! I saw some ginger bread houses in sainsbury's supermarket for about £13-15!! I thought to myself.... 'they don't look worth that price.' I can honestly say I would pay more than that for one of your gingerbread houses!

Rosie when I saw this I had to get my hubby and kid to come have a look. It is great, you must have put so much effort into making this and it has turned out absoloutley beautiful! It put a great big smile on my face to read this post it looks FANTASTIC well done. :)

Maria said...

Rosie this is a grand masterpiece and you have done a wonderful job, you should be so proud of this ;o)


Farmersgirl said...

What a beautiful house Rosie - when can I move in? :D I have always wanted to make one of those too, but never got around to it, there never seems enough time at Christmas.

The Bhandari's said...

Got a great blog, I love baking so am putting u in my blog roll, will visit back soon to read the ginger bread house soon
thanks for posting

Happy cook said...

Rosieeeeeeeeee you must have spend a lot of time making this. Here i see them in pastry shops and the ask a lot of € for it.
You do have a great gift in making things likr this.
You should start a coffie shop and sell all your goddies :-)


Thats amazing!! looks too good...!!
Bet its a big excitement for the kids...will give it a try sometime!!

Rosie said...

Hi Jeena,
*Blush* thank you SO much for your very kind comment and what an honour for you to show your family my pics. It took me nearly two days to make only due to the drying process of the gingerbread frame. I must look into Sainsbury’s at their gingerbread house’s.

Hi Maria,
I am sure your boys would love to have a go at help making one of these cottages with you. Many thanks for your kind comment too as always. BTW I adore your Candy Cane cake it looks brilliant !!

Hi Janice,
Heehee now where did I put that key for you to move in ?? I agree its finding time at the festive season to bake and make all that you wish.

Hi The Bhandari’s,
Thank you for adding me to your wonderful Blog. I have just been visiting and drooling my way though your Blog & recipes, also added you to my Blog roll too. I will be visiting your Blog many times from now on.

Hi Happy Cook,
Awe thanks– my dream would be to open a Coffee shop but alas I don’t think I’m quite up to that standard…. a girl can dream …….. lol

Hi Sugarcraft India,
Well I’m sure the kids will be breaking off bits very soon to eat heehee.

Thank you everyone for your very kind comments and also for calling by my Blog :)

Rosie x

MrsB said...

Argh Rosie, that is the best ginger bread house ever, I can't believe you made that it looks wonderful! I'd show it to everyone I know if I was you, it's looks great! Your a baking star!

Rosie said...

Hi Mrs B,
Lovely to *see* you and thank you so much for your lovely comment. I really did have fun in the kitchen this weekend making this house heehee.

Rosie x

Pixie said...

That just looks so incredible, you must have so much patience! I'm not sure I could ever attempt making one of my own. Well done.

And huge thanks for adding me to your blogroll, I shall happily be doing the same. :)

Rosie said...

Hi Pixie,
I'm sure you would also make a great gingerbread house too :) Thanks for adding me to your Blog Roll and for calling by and your kind comment.

Rosie x

Anitha said...

Beautiful gingerbread house. I know how much of hard work is involved to make the gingerbread house.

You have done an excellent work. Sure you have lots & lots of patience :-)

Rosie said...

Hi Anitha, thank you for calling by my Blog and also for your very kind comment. I had a look at your Blog and its amazing your sugar craft skills are perfection.

I have added you to my Blog Roll to share with others your amazing talents.

Rosie x

Julia said...

Rosie that's so fabulous! I'm going to make one for the first time this year, do you know how long they keep so you can still eat them?

Rosie said...

Hi Julia,
I'm sure you are really going to have So much fun making your gingerbread house!! I have read that they keep very well wrapped for many weeks and still edible.

Thanks for your kind comment and also for calling by my Blog.

Rosie x