Nothing says Christmas like gingerbread. I love it, I could live off the stuff year round. Something about the warming spice, dark molasses rich sugar and the lightly chewy texture from the golden syrup that just warms the cockles and gets me in the festive spirit. This recipe has a lovely aromatic to it with the addition of the Orange zest and freshly grated nutmeg. Ideal for edible or decorative use, but why would you want to waste a good biscuit on the tree?
I’ve always wanted to make a gingerbread house. Hansel and Gretel was always my favourite Brothers Grimm Fairytale. The illustrations in my book of Grimm Tales fascinated and fired my imagination especially the sinister sugary sweet gingerbread house. The big kid in me yearns to construct a wee house of gingerbread and decorate it with sweet jewels, something with a non-baking mum I never got to do as kid. My mum isn’t a great baker, boiled fruit cakes like bricks and anaemic looking microwave sponges are my mothers cake baking legacy. Thankfully my love of baking I acquired from my grandmother. She was a big cake fan, even when she lost her sight she still made awesome pastry and Mince pies. I really miss my Nanna and her baking at Christmas.
Last Christmas I decided its about time I attempted to make a gingerbread house. As its just the two of us and was my first dabble in 3D gingerbreadery I wanted to start small. Then it came to me, what about a gingerbread shed? Modelling it on our allotment shed, Christmas Eve 2012 I made my first gingerbread house whilst following the Skin and Blister blog Share Advent 2012 to start a new tradition. By making our gingerbread shed a tradition was born. This year to honour the tradition I made again on Christmas Eve, my Gingerbread Shed.
This year after watching the Great British Bake Off Christmas special, Mary Berry’s Gingerbread house I was inspired by her boiled sweet stained glass windows. So with a slight amendment to my templates I added a couple of windows to my shed.
My Gingerbread Shed Recipe
25g Golden syrup
75g Soft Dark brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground ginger
Grated nutmeg to taste
Zest of 1 clementine or half and orange
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Boiled sweet, I used lemon sherbets
Royal or water icing from a packet or homemade. For the gingerbread shed I used a sachet of Dr Ockter’s white icing.
In a saucepan add the golden syrup, treacle, sugar, spices and zest heating gently until the sugar has dissolved.
Remove from the heat adding the cubed butter and stirring until melted.
Add the flour and bicarbonate of soda stir quickly to form a dough
Turn out and briefly knead into a ball.
Wrap in cling film and chill for an hour or even over night. The firmer the dough the better .
Whilst chilling draw up your gingerbread construction templates. To get a shed shape with an apex roof we drew 6 pieces. 2 x front and back with the pitch of the roof, 2 x side walls and 2 x roof pieces. Drawing these up on lined paper and cutting out carefully.
When sufficiently chilled roll out your dough between two sheets of grease proof paper to the thickness of approx 3mm or so. Lay down your templates and cut away the dough to form the shapes. Re-rolling excess dough until all components to the shed are cut.
Transfer the dough on grease proof to the baking tray.
Bake at 180c for 8-10 mins
Pound up the boiled sweets in a pestle and mortar until powder like.
Remove gingerbread pieces from oven and fill the windows with the ground up sweets. Returning to the oven for another 3 – 4 minutes
Remove from oven and allow to cool a little. Re-trim the shapes whilst still warm and allow to cool completely.
When cool decorate your house/shed as you wish. Simple snowy scene or full on jelly tot glam, it’s your call.
Once cool you can start the construction! Find a bowl or a mug to rest the walls on whilst icing together the 4 sides of the shed.
Once these are dried you can attach your roof pieces one a time.
Merry Christmas everyone!