I must start with this post with a quick apology for my lack of recipes over the past month; I have been drowning in essays, dissertation drafts and other equally exciting (?!) tasks at University so cooking has unfortunately been put on the back burner.
Now, however, I am home and more than ready to get stuck into some Festive baking and of course, recipe sharing!
Not to do things by halves, I decided to kick off the season of good will (and good food) with another of my huge gingerbread constructions. Last Christmas I created a rustic gingerbread replica of my own house (this can be found in the ‘Biscuits’ section of tassybakes), but this time around I wanted to give you something a little more refined.
With this in mind, I drew up a template for my own gingerbread Chapel, aiming not only for a grand size but for detail and a bit of finesse; I will let you decide if I’ve fulfilled my aim!
If you think I have and fancy freestyling your own gingerbread build this Christmas, here is the recipe I used and some useful tips on how to create those aesthetic details.
For the Gingerbread you will need (this recipe makes loads of the stuff- enough for a big house like mine):
700g unsalted butter, 600g dark brown sugar, 300g golden syrup, 1.9kg plain flour, 2tbsp bicarbonate of soda, 1tsp cinnamon, 2tbsp ground ginger
Simply melt together the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan, then set aside.
Sift the other ingredients into a large mixing bowl then pour the buttery liquid in. Mix vigorously until fully combined, then heavily flour a surface and roll the dough out, a quarter at a time.
Cut into your necessary shapes according to your design template then bake for 8-10 minutes (time varies depending on size of pieces- smaller shapes will take less time).
Some Decorative Tips
1) Make your building special by creating a stained glass window effect. This works brilliantly in the evening if you put some candles into the doorway, as it looks as though the lights are on in your little house!
To make this glass effect, all you need is a pack of clear mints or boiled sweets. Crush the sweets to a powder, then, when almost cooked, take your gingerbread out of the oven and place the powder into any window gaps you’ve cut , before returning to the oven for three minutes. When you remove your gingerbread, the sweets will have melted and formed little glass windows- a perfect detail to add to any house.
2) Take the time to tile your gingerbread house once it has been built. I find flaked almonds really effective but chocolate buttons would be great for children, or any other flat sweets you fancy trying.
3) Use some simple white icing and a piping bag to draw lines and patterns on the sides of your building- they add lots of pretty detail and make the end result even better.
4) Be PATIENT! This is vital if you’re house is going to work- you can’t expect it to stand up straight away, so support the sides whilst it sets in place. Use icing sugar mixed with water as a glue to hold the pieces together and don’t be sparing- the more you use the more secure the construction will be.