Sunday, 13 December 2009

Gingerbread House

This weekend we worked on our Yule gingerbread house, I wanted it to be ready for the Yule Feast we're hosting on the 18th.  Looking forward to sharing the delights of that night with you all!  I still had gingerbread dough in the freezer from the Haunted Gingerbread House I made at Halloween, so got that out of the freezer to defrost in plenty of time.

My SO decided that this was the day to give me an early Christmas present, and handed over a silicone baking mat for rolling out pastry etc. on.  It was perfect timing.  I was able to roll the dough out on the mat, cut out the shapes and then just flip the mat upside down to get the pieces onto the tray without any distortion from trying to lift them.

With the pieces baked, I took a chance on a new technique and used some meringue powder to make the royal icing which I coloured with paste colours in Christmas red and green.  The icing was a completely different texture to regular royal icing but it certainly did the job!

Our big innovation this year was the addition of boiled sugar windows, and a light inside.  You can make windows by putting boiled sweets in when you bake the gingerbread, but as I'm a fan of playing with sugar at high temperature I made my own.  I dissolved a cup of sugar in 1/2 a cup of water over a low heat, added a pinch of cream of tartar and then boiled it to 300 fahrenheit, added a little yellow food colour and poured the mixture into the good gingerbread pieces which I had laid down on a greased granite slab.  20 minutes later we had glazing!

The assembly went smoothly, it takes time but that's really just waiting time to let the icing dry between stages.  I do wish I'd had a smaller nozzle for my piping bag though, it was just a bit too big.  Ah well, it'll soon be Christmas and I have just such a thing on my list!

We added a few pre-bought decorations, and boiled up a bit more sugar to make a pond, stuck them all on and tada.  Very pleased with the result!  Full photos are here.

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