For the last of our Christmas recipes we wanted to do something a bit different, and impressive. These little hanging houses look so sweet hanging on the tree, they make the room smell all gingerbready, and best of all, they taste great!
They do take some patience, but they’re easier than a large gingerbread house, and they’re worth it in the end. If you’re worried about hanging them (to be completely honest, I thought mine might fall – it didn’t though) omit the ribbon and stand them on something firm.
Here's how to make them:
You will need:
1 batch of gingerbread dough for approximately 6 mini houses
Coloured royal icing, or as a shortcut ready made writing, piping or designer icing (available in most supermarkets)
Chocolate buttons for the roof
Flower sprinkles (optional)
(adapted from Peggy Porschen’s gingerbread recipe)
210g light brown sugar
3 tablespoons treacle
3 tablespoons golden syrup
5 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons powdered ginger
3 tablespoons powdered cinnamon
250g diced butter
600g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- Put the sugar, treacle, syrup, water, and spices into a saucepan and heat, stirring, until it comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until well combined. Add the bicarbonate of soda and stir though. Leave to cool.
- Mix in the flour to form a dough, then wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour
- Roll out the dough between two pieces of greaseproof paper to about 0.5cm thick. Download and cut out the template, then lightly dust it with flour to stop it sticking to the gingerbread dough. Place it on the dough, and cut around it using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife.
- Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes or the freezer for 10 minutes. If you skip this step your biscuits will grow in the oven.
- Bake at 180C for approximately 10 minutes. Leave to cool completely.
- Decorate the front, back and side of the houses with piping icing, and allow to set.
- Make your royal icing (see recipe below). Use the icing as ‘glue’ to hold the houses together. First, using a flat knife, add icing to the back vertical sides of the front and back pieces of gingerbread. Stick the sides to it to make a house shape – after a few second of holding it together it will stand up by itself. Leave for about an hour to set (you can rush on, but it may fall down!
- Now add the roof. Add royal icing to the underside edges of the roof, all around it. First stick one half of the roof in place, then fold your ribbon in half and glue it together with icing. Place in the middle of the roof, it should stay in place as the icing will act as glue. Now add add the other side of the roof. Hold in place for a few minutes until it stays put. Allow to set for another hour or so.
- Stick chocolate button tiles onto the roof, starting at the bottom.
- Let the houses set overnight, then hang from the tree!
Royal Icing Recipe:
500 g icing sugar
75ml egg whites (from approximately 2 eggs)
1 teaspoon of glycerine (optional – it adds a sheen)
A little water or lemon juice
Mix the ingredients together using an electric whisk. The icing will form peaks when you lift the whisk from it. You will need it to be very stiff to hold the houses together, so this consistency will be perfect.
If you’d like to pipe with the icing, add lemon juice or water, a little at a time, until the consistency resembles tooth paste. Add colour if you wish, then wrestle into a piping bag or bottle.
Download the template for the houses.