Friday, 11 December 2009

Gingerbread Party!

Mmmm, gingerbread... Isn't gingerbread just the perfect holiday baked good? It fills the house with the most warm and comforting festive scents and you just can't help but feel that swell of excitement, knowing that Christmas is just around the corner.

So easy to make too! The dough comes together in a matter of minutes and, unlike pastry, can put up with a fair amount of handling, so perfect for a cold Sunday afternoon activity with children. Or even a group of 20-something year old adults in this case! Not that you'd think that from the fruits of our labour...

Ahem, yes, children made this... That's the reason for the somewhat vibrant decorations! (rather large children) There's a cool 1kg of icing on top of this baby. And that doesn't include the 5 bags of sweet that were placed thrown on the outside. I do love the tree with all the little pressies under it though...

So that's what we made at the end of an afternoon drinking copious quantities of mulled wine (with a VERY generous slug of brandy added!) and eating nothing but sugar. In our more sober moments, we did do some more regular decorating.

LOVE his mustache. Like Poirot the snowman...

Here's the recipe - very simple, and the gingerbread keeps well for a good week or so in an airtight container. I'm going to whip up some more of these and tie red gingham ribbon to them to hang from our Christmas tree. Eeekk, getting SO excited about Christmas now!!


Adapted from Delia's Book of Cakes

75g soft brown sugar
2 tbsp (50g) golden syrup
1 tbsp (30g) black treacle - I think this is also called molasses
1 tbsp water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger, or a touch more if you like them spicy
1 pinch ground cloves
finely grated rind of 1/2 orange
95g butter, cut up a bit
1/2 level tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
225g plain flour

Put the sugar, golden syrup, black treacle, water, spices and orange rind in a saucepan. Pop over a meduim heat and stir until it comes up to the boil.

Take off the heat and add the butter and bicarb of soda. Mix well until the butter melts - it can look a bit like its separating at this stage, but just keep on stirring and it will come together into a gorgeous, slick, gingery syrup in no time.

Gradually add the flour, stirring well, until it forms a smooth dough. You can add a little more flour if you think it's necessary but do bear in mind that when it's cooled down a bit, it will become much firmer and easier to manage. I normally find that this is the right amount of flour. It should come together nicely and leave the sides of the pan (fairly) clean.

Wrap the dough in cling film and pop in the fridge for about half an hour, or up to a couple of days if you're making it ahead.

When you're ready to bake the gingerbread, roll it out onto a lightly floured work surface to around 1/8th of an inch (3mm) thick (or thinner if, like me, you like thin, crispy gingerbread) and cut out whatever shapes you fancy. For trees decorations, make a hole using the tip of an icing nozzle or a skewer. I tend to avoid making men or angels for the tree as I'm not a fan of making holes in their heads! Place on a greased baking sheet, spaced well apart as they spread a bit on cooking.

Bake for 8-12 mins (this depends on thickness so do keep an eye on them) until they feel firm when pressed with a finger tip. Leave to cool and go nuts with the decorations!

Rosy xx


  1. That looks like so much fun! I tend to shy away from making gingerbread houses because my walls always collapse on me! Everything looks adorable :)

  2. Thank you! I have to say I was REALLY worried that my first attempt at a gingerbread house was after several glasses of mulled wine and I'm still in shock that the walls didn't cave in! Maybe this is super stong gingerbread?! Or the icing is the consistency of cement...
    R x

  3. Argh, they're lush! I've never made a gingerbread house! I'm dying to try! I have a cheats IKEA flat pack on in the cupboard ;)

    And don't tempt me with a London tour of cupcakeries! I'll be like a house end!

    Katie xox

  4. Wow - I am impressed! I made my first ever gingerbread house this year but next year I'm aspiring to make one like yours!

  5. I'm so glad you posted the pictures! I think the house is wonderful, and very stylish indeed. I'm totally using this recipe this week, I almost emailed you for it as last years gingerbread just wasn't quite up to my standard.

    I'm not quite sure my decorating will be up to standard, but I'll try my best!

    Hope this weekend went well.