It’s been a year now since I last blogged. I have a good reason though as two months ago we welcomed baby no2!! A little brother Oisín (Osheen) for my two and a half year old daughter Isla. So, I think I can be forgiven for the poor attendance, it’s not so easy to craft, bake and blog between all the morning sickness and running after a toddler whilst carrying a 10lb2oz baby!
Sadly, I’m still not quite back in full swing just yet but I did want to post this years gingerbread house attempt. I wasn’t quite sure I could top last years homemade gingerbread house but I’m pretty happy as it’s based on my actual home in London.
My actual house gingerbread house.
The recipe is the same as last years minus the black pepper for toddler consumption purposes.
My background is in Architecture so I do have an advantage over other bakers. And even though my last model making was a good 7 years ago, I did manage to find some of my old skills hidden amongst the manic thoughts of feeding schedules, nappy changing and diffusing toddler tantrums in my now mummy brain.
To figure out all the pieces of my house I first made a fairly basic 3d model on google sketchup. It wasn’t exactly to scale and was constructed very quickly from a street view elevation, so not very architecturally professional of me. But then I’m going to eat the thing so who cares?!
I then exported each face and set them out on a 2d plane for printing, so I knew exactly how many pieces I needed and what shape they should be. I then cut them out to use as templates.
Roll the gingerbread out to about 5mm thick onto a lightly floured surface. Then with a sharp knife cut around your template pieces and transfer onto grease proof paper lined baking sheets. Then transfer to the fridge for 10-15mins.
Now, for a more complex house like this you need your pieces to be more precise than with your simpler houses. The gingerbread will expand as it cooks and your edges won’t be straight enough. To get straight edges you need to cut the gingerbread very carefully (hot) and quickly when it first comes out of the oven. Because of the small window you have to do this before it cools I would advise only doing a few faces at a time.
Cook your pieces in a preheated oven of around 170. for 10-12mins.
So for example in my process I would roll out and cut 4 at a time. Cool for 10 in fridge and cook for 11 in the oven. Then while in the oven I would cut and cool the next batch.
As I’ve said before. In the first minute of getting your pieces out of the oven overlay your templates again and try cut the edges to match as much as you can.
After a few minutes transfer your pieces to cool completely on wire rack.
For me juggling a baby and a 2 year old this process was a days work so when I had all the pieces ready I stored them in a large Tupperware container.
The process there after was pretty much the same as my last house. Make a glue icing from egg whites and icing sugar and stick the pieces together slowly mounting them on a stable base.
I then finished off the house when the basic structure had set with plain icing sugar tile and window details and little edible silver balls for a little extra decoration.
Slightly cheating I did make the more detailed window frames from piping onto clear plastic so this isn’t a 100% edible house. I have seen other projects where boiled sweets have been placed in the centre of the cut ours for windows before the cooking process where by the sugars melt and form the glass. But alas I forgot to buy my boiled sweets! Maybe next year!
So that’s it. My slightly complicated but I think very cute gingerbread house.
We also made two other more simple houses as a family. Can you spot which one was decorated by the 2 year old?! Still fairly good even if daddy did help with the icing bits. But the design and application was still all by the little miss herself.