A gingerbread house with a twist

DANIELLE HEYNS
Last updated 13:07 19/12/2013

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We can't think of a more Kiwi take on the traditional gingerbread house than this whimsical bach, dreamed up by Jane Bell from Polka Dottie Cakes in Hamilton.

It's even got its own New Zealand Christmas tree with lights that work. We can't stop looking at all the delightful details.

GINGERBREAD BACH

NEED TO KNOW

Main ingredient Flour
Type of dish Baking
Course Side dish
Cooking time 2+
Serves/makes 1 gingerbread bach
Special options Kid-friendly

200g butter, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1 T ground ginger
2 t ground cinnamon
1 cup plain flour
3½ cups self-raising flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup golden syrup
For the icing:
 2 egg whites
About 2 - 3 cups of icing sugar

1. In a food processor, place the butter and sugar and process until fully combined.

2. Add the flours, cinnamon and ginger into the processor and process on high until fully combined.

3. In a jug, mix the eggs with the golden syrup. Pour into the food processor while the motor is running and process until all is combined.

4. Turn out on to a lightly floured bench and knead until smooth. Divide into 4 pieces and shape into flat discs. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.

5. Remove from cling film and knead until pliable. Roll out to 5mm thick and cut to template shapes. For texture, like weather boards or corrugated iron on the roof, use a knife or skewer to add that detail now, before baking. Reroll offcuts and cut as needed.

6. When cutting out the windows and doors, leave the cut-out bits in place; this helps to keep the shape while cooking.

7. The shapes will move a bit when you are transferring them to the baking tray, so reshape them on the tray before they go in the oven. A flat metal spatula is ideal for moving pieces.

8. Bake all pieces for 15-20 mins at 180° or until golden.

9. Leave to cool overnight on wire racks.

10. Cut around doors and windows and gently lift out. Keep these pieces as you can make the steps from them.

To make royal icing

1. Beat egg whites until foamy,then gradually add icing sugar.

2. The amount of icing sugaryou need is going to depend on the size of your eggs. Keep adding small amounts of icing sugar until you get a smooth consistency; not too runny, but not too thick for piping.

ASSEMBLY:

- Modelling chocolate for all the extras

- Bamboo skewers

- Thicker skewers or dowel for the porch posts

- Piece of stiff card approx. 18cm x 21cm

Step 1: If you are using a cake board to put your house on, cover it with fondant or Christmas paper first.

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Step 2: Gather all your pieces together and lay them out. Put your royal icing into a piping bag with a size 3 or 4 tip. Colour your royal icing to the colour of the walls if you don't want it to standout as much. Leave some royal icing white and covered in a separate bowl in case you want to colour it for other decoration later. To help later on with the moving of your house, you may want to assemble it on a piece of card.

Step 3: Starting with a side piece and back 'glue' together the walls of your house, add the front and other side. Do this on a tray or board that you won't be displaying it on. You may need to lean the house against a box or anything else handy until it sets. Lay a couple of skewers across the top, to add strength to the roof. If there are any pieces that don't fit exactly, use a sharp knife to trim them.

Step 4: Make up the bottom skirt of the porch. Add skewers across the top of this before you put the porch floor on.

Step 5: Hold your porch roof in place whileyou measure the thicker skewers.These will sit on the porch and support the roof. Use a sharp knife on a chopping board to cut the skewers to length.  

Knead some brown modelling chocolate and mould around the posts. Let this set for a minute or two then place posts in place and 'glue' a skewer in place across the top between them.

This will give strength to the roof. 'Glue' the roof on. An extra pair of hands may be needed here. When your house is set, you can let your imagination run wild and decorate any way you please. Use modelling chocolate or fondant to add the finishing touches. Add tylose powder to either of these to help stiffen your decorations. Leave overnight to set.

Use a metals patula or a fish slice to very gently lift your house on to the display board. When you have it in a position that you're happy with, gently slide out the card from underneath the house. Then you can add the last details such as the tree and grass. The grass is piped with a grass tip. The lights are from www.dotsnspots.co.nz.

These seed lights are perfect because they are so small and are battery powered. The washi tape around the board is also from there. The site has agreat range to choose from, so you can match to your colour scheme.

Template sizes:

Back wall (cut 1): 18cm x 12cm. Cut a gap at the bottom of the wall to put interior lighting through.

Bach sides (cut 2): 13cm x 14cm x 12cm

Bach roof (cut 1): 20cm x 15cm

Porch roof and floor (cut 2): 18cm x 6cm

Front wall (cut 1): 18cm x 14cm. Remember the windows and door. 

Porch side skirt (cut 2) 6cm x 1 1/2cm (porch floor listed with roof)

Porch front skirt (cut 1): 18cm x 1 1/2cm

- Waikato

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