I have a confession to make.
Before Christmas, my only other experience of making a gingerbread house involved the sort that came ready-baked in an ‘assemble-your-own’ kit. In fairness, I was only eleven at the time and was probably more preoccupied with the fact that I had just started high school that year; I also hadn’t discovered my passion for baking, having only ever made banana cake and bread rolls under my dad’s supervision. Not that it was a bad place to start, I hasten to add – that old banana cake recipe is still one of the best in my repertoire!
But banana cake aside, I decided that this Christmas was the time for me to attempt my own gingerbread house from start to finish, baking and construction.
Making and baking the gingerbread was the easy part. (A search using Google will turn up any number of gingerbread recipes – I used Rachel Allen’s, adding crushed Glacier Mints to simulate glass in the windows and scoring the unbaked dough with the blunt edge of a knife to create a brick pattern.)
The construction, however, was more of a challenge, probably due to the fact that the edges of my gingerbread pieces were not quite straight. As a result, the icing struggled to hold the walls together in some places, but left overnight in a cold room, it did eventually set and didn’t fall apart as I’d feared! The roof was relatively straightforward after that, with only the slats to be attached and the individual gingerbread tiles to be glued on top.
While it wasn’t exactly the fairytale Hansel and Gretel gingerbread cottage, I’m still pretty pleased with the outcome. It looked like a house, stood up on its own and most importantly, it was tasty! I think it can safely be called a success…