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December 24, 2021
I can’t think of gingerbread houses without stirring up thoughts of Hansel & Gretel. The story of abandoned children, a wicked witch who wanted to eat them, and a clever child who outwitted her, killed her and took all her treasure. Perhaps children’s fairy stories need trigger warnings in our new woke world. The original story had a bread house with a cake roof and transparent sugar windows. Later versions moved onto gingerbread.
In 1812 the brothers Grimm published this tale that had emerged in the middle ages in their collection of 86 stories. By 1857 the 7th edition carried 210 unique fairy tales. Here’s a simple recipe for a small house to keep the Christmas tradition going. The largest gingerbread house was made in Texas a few years back. It was 21 feet tall and occupied the size of tennis court. Some historians trace the first recipe for gingerbread back the Greeks in 2400 BC.
Ingredients:340g plain flour160g light brown sugar100g unsalted butter3 tbsp ground ginger4 tbsp golden syrup1 tsp bicarbonate soda1 egg
Icing:100g Icing sugar Water - dropsDecorations of choiceFood dye of choice
Method:Preheat oven to 180⁰C and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
Cream the butter and sugar together, add the egg and beat in. Then add all the other ingredients mixing until a smooth dough forms. Roll dough out onto a floured work surface until dough is appx 5mm thick. Cut out the shape of the house that you want, space each piece out on the baking tray. Use a cookie cutter for the gingerbread men and then space each one apart on the tray.
Place biscuits in the oven and bake for appx 8 mins, (larger shapes may take a little longer). They will be firm to touch and slightly browned when ready. Place on a wire rack to cool, (they will harden once cooled). Once fully cooled, decorate the house/men as you wish.
Icing: To make the icing add a few drops of water to the icing sugar until you have the desired consistency, (you want a thick but pipeable paste). Split the quantity and add food dye. You will need small piping bags to decorate. I put my house together by frosting a cake board so each base of the house sat on that and therefore each wall supported the other.
Gaby Van Clarke
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