For the 12th Day of Christmas…Mini Hanging Gingerbread Houses

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.

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Here's how to make them:
You will need:
1 batch of gingerbread dough for approximately 6 mini houses
Royal Icing
Ribbon
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)

Recipe

(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

  1. 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.
  2. Mix in the flour to form a dough, then wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Bake at 180C for approximately 10 minutes. Leave to cool completely.
  6. Decorate the front, back and side of the houses with piping icing, and allow to set.
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. Stick chocolate button tiles onto the roof, starting at the bottom.
  10. 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.

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On the 11th Day Of Christmas…Pinata Present Cookies with Floribunda Rose

Today we show you how to make these cute little present cookies – and the best bit is, there is a hidden surprise inside! Perfect for kids, they make a unusual present and you’re sure to hear squeals of delight once they realise what’s inside.

The lovely Sarah from Floribunda Rose shares the recipe on her blog.

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On The 10th Day of Christmas.. Snowflake Favours with Rock My Style

Wow it’s the 10th day of Christmas already! It’s definitely time to get your Christmas bake on. If you’re hosting Christmas these snowflake favours make a great place setting, and they are also very pretty packaged in boxes from the Elite Packaging Company.

Whatever you’re doing, stop it, and visit Rock My Style to get the lowdown on how to make these snowflake stacks. They’re really pretty simple to make.

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On the fifth day of Christmas….Vanilla Heart Decorations

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Makes approximately 45 9cm biscuits

Ingredients
450g plain (all purpose) flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
130g cold butter, diced
130g brown sugar
40ml golden syrup (corn syrup)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Ribbon, string, raffia or bakers twine

Method
1. Perheat oven to 170C (340F)
2. Mix flour, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and butter in a stand mixer on low speed for 5 minutes or until it resembles breadcrumbs
3. Add golden syrup, egg and vanilla essence and mix on a low speed until a dough forms
4. Remove from bowl and shape into a ball. The dough can be frozen at this stage if desired – wrap in cling film (saran wrap) and seal in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.
5. Roll out on a floured surface to approximately 4mm thick. Rolling half the dough at a time will make it more manageable
6. Cut out hearts or desired shapes and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment 3cm apart, as they will grow during baking. Gather up the scraps of dough and repeat until it’s all used.
7. Bake for 10 minutes until lightly golden
8. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Then, using a straw, make holes in the tops of the biscuits, cutting the straw after making each hole and discarding the pieces. Allow to cool completely.
9. Dust with icing sugar and thread ribbon, bakers twine, raffia or string through the holes and tie at the top. Hang and enjoy!

Tip: For alternate flavours try substituting the vanilla for a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ginger or almond essence.

On the fourth day of Christmas we get crafty with Gingerbread Gift Wrapping!

Today we show you how to make your gifts look extra festive on the outside, and they will smell great too! These biscuits are easy to make, and will really make you presents stand out under the tree (unless you have a dog, who will eat them all and think this the gift was for them!).

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You will need:

1/2 batch of gingerbread dough (see recipe below) to make approximately 18 biscuits

Festive Cookie Cutters

A plastic drinking straw

Gifts to wrap!

Twine, ribbon or string

 

RECIPE

(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

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 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.
  2. Mix in the flour to form a dough, then wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour
  3. Roll out the dough between two pieces of greaseproof paper to about 0.5cm thick. Cut out the shapes using your Christmas cookie cutters.
  4. Using the straw to make two holes in the middle of each biscuit.  If some of the dough gets stuck in the straw, snip a bit off the end.
  5. 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.
  6. Bake at 180C for approximately 10 minutes.
  7. If the holes close up whilst baking, don’t panic! Use a skewer to gently open them up again whilst warm, but be careful they will be hot! Leave to cool completely.  The biscuits will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
  8. Thread twine or ribbon through the holes, and attach to your gifts.  This is best done just before your give your presents away, to prevent the gingerbread from going soft and the butter in your biscuit marking the wrapping paper .
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On the 3rd Day of Christmas Baking…Festive Jammy Dodgers

Today we bring you one of our favourite festive recipes recipes – spiced jammy dodgers.  They taste great as plain biscuits without the jam as well, but the jam adds a little extra oomph. These are Christmas in a biscuit!

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The recipe makes about 30 8cm biscuits

Ingredients:

Biscuit

250g butter, at room temperature

200g sugar

1 egg

500g plain flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon allspice

 

Jam

350g berry jam (or use your favourite jam)

½ cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon allspice

pinch ground cloves (optional)

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 1800C. Cream butter and sugar, then add the egg and mix until well combined.  Add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and mix slowly until a soft dough is formed.
  2. Knead gently on a floured surface to form a round ball.  Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for an hour.
  3. Sprinkle flour on your work surface and split the dough into two balls.  Roll one ball out thinly, to about 3mm thick.  Cut out circles and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment.  Pick up the scraps and knead to form a ball, and repeat until you’ve used all of your dough. Now, using smaller Christmas themed cookie cutters, cut out shapes from the middle of half of the biscuits whilst on your baking tray.   This will stop the shapes distorting which can happen if you move your biscuits after you cut the middle shape.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden – don’t overcook, they should be a very light brown colour.  Place on a wire rack to cool.
  5. Place the jam in a small saucepan with the cinnamon stick, allspice and cloves.  Gently bring to a boil over a low heat, stirring all the time. Simmer for a couple of minutes, then take the pan off the heat and allow to cool.  Once cool remove the cinnamon stick. (Tip: if you’re feeling lazy, you can skip this step and just use your favourite jam as it is. They will still be yummy, but not quite so Christmassy!).
  6. Put a teaspoon of jam on each biscuit circle, and place a biscuit with a shape cut of it on top. Arrange so the jam fills the shape.  Dust with icing sugar.  Allow the jam to set, then keep in an airtight tin.  They will last about a week (if you can resist them!).

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Spiced jammy dodgers