Gingerbread house 2014 - Gingerbread House making 2014

Eating excess royal icing is one of the best things about a gingerbread house, apparently

As the final scraps of last year’s gingerbread house sit in a tin, ready for eating with January afternoon post-school hot chocolates, here’s a look back at the the making and baking and icing.

At this stage, what the girls call “the gingerbread mans’s house” has become an entrenched tradition, something that they demand to make as soon as there’s a hint of Christmas in the air. I bought a heavyweight Wilton gingerbread house baking mould from The Kitchen Dresser back in 2011 and it’s been used every year since.

I learned, that first year, that gingerbread house making is not something to be rushed. Make the dough at the start of December – actually, make twice as much as you think you’ll need because a certain amount of it gets eaten before it ever gets to the baking stage. The raw dough also sits around happily for quite a time in the fridge, another plus when you’re amidst pre-Christmas madness. Mould and bake off the pieces of the house another time, stick them in a tin and wait for a good day (one that necessitates small child distraction) to assemble. Royal icing also has to be made – and spilled – along the way. You’ll also probably need twice as much of the icing, depending on how much “helping” you’re getting.

Put the parts of the house together, leave to set overnight, or for a few days – this is very much a when-you-have-time job – then it’s time for the best bit, which always seems to happen in our house on Christmas Eve morning: the decoration. Liquorice allsorts are my sweets of choice, for their wonderfully lurid colours but, even better, for the fact that small taste buds don’t really like the flavour. Leaves all the more to stick on to the roof!

When assembled, bring to your grandparents’ house for admiration and eating.

And repeat in December 2015.

Starting the #gingerbreadhouse14 making – if they don’t eat the spices first

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Time to get the dough shaped for what the Small Girl calls the gingerbread man’s house #gingerbreadhouse14

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Starting today’s #gingerbreadhouse14 assembly

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Built! #gingerbreadhouse14 Tomorrow is for the decoration. Christmas Eve for the eating.

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Final touches… #gingerbreadhouse14

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Finished. #gingerbreadhouse14 Time for the eating

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Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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2 Responses

  1. I’ve always been terrified of making one of these Caroline, but hand in heart, this post has inspired me to try!! Will defo make one this year when I get a chance. I love edible craft projects. Will let you know how it works out for me and I might give you a shout if I get stuck! Love the photos!

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