½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup golden syrup
1 egg yolk (save the egg white – you use it in the icing)
2 ½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
Using a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in golden syrup and egg yolk, then stir in sifted flour, ginger and baking soda in two batches.
Knead mixture on lightly floured surface until smooth. If the mixture is too crumbly, crumble it back into the mixing bowl until it resembles a fine breadcrumb. Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter and stir it through the gingerbread mixture. Keep adding melted butter until the mixture sticks together. Alternatively, if the mixture is too wet, add in more flour.
Cover the mixture in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough out on a floured bench until about 5mm thick. Cut out the pieces needed for your house and place 3cm apart on prepared baking trays. If the mixture has become quite soft while you have been cutting out your shapes, place the baking trays into the fridge for a further 10 minutes for it to harden up again.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
1 ½ cups icing sugar
1 egg white
Food or gel colouring, or brought writing icings
If you are making the icing to ‘glue’ together your Gingerbread pieces, you want the mix to be a thick-ish paste, if it is too sloppy it will not stay in place and your pieces won’t join together. It is is too runny, mix in more icing sugar.
If you are making the icing to decorate with, you will want it a little bit runny. If yours is too thick, mix in a couple of drops of hot water as needed to thin the mix up a bit.
Divide the mixture into 3-4 small bowls and add colours (if wanted). Spoon the icing into a piping bag, or small plastic re-sealable bags – just snip off a corner to use as a piping bag. For a quicker, cleaner option do try using bought writing icings.
- We gave each learner a small wooden board, wrapped in tin foil to assemble their Gingerbread House on, but you can buy specialty cake boards if you wish.
- Decorate your house with icing and anything else you like – we had so many different lollies! We also had pretzels which can create a log cabin effect, and thin chocolate squares make awesome looking panelled doors.
- To make ‘stained glass windows’ cut shapes out of your gingerbread panels, crush up some candy (like lollypops) and fill up the cut-out shape before baking. During baking, the candy will melt and create a window in the hole.
- Some students found it easier to decorate their house pieces first, before assembling the house. This may be a particularly good idea if you want to do intricate icing details, as you can work on a flat surface.
- We used empty glasses to prop up the walls on either side while they dried. We found icing the base and walls for two joining sides and waiting for the icing to go rock hard before adding to it worked best.
- If any of your pieces do happen to crack or break, you can piece them back together with icing. For added strength, place a couple of skewers in an ‘x’ shape on the back of the broken piece and icing over the top of it.
- Make sure you have waited for your icing to thoroughly dry before adding to your Gingerbread house further. When dry, the icing is almost hard like cement. If you keep adding decoration while it is wet, it will not hold the weight of your house together and it will collapse.
- If your house does collapse and crumble, maybe you can salvage it by some toy dinosaurs or plastic army men!