If, like me, you are a Pinterest addict, you will no doubt have seen lots of lovely photos of tiny gingerbread houses beautifully balanced on mugs.
I’ve wanted to make them for ages, so I ordered a set of cutters online from eBay. I think they came from China!
Once they arrived I used the recipe in the Biscuiteers book that I mentioned in the Iced Biscuits (Cookies) post. It’s got treacle, and a range of spices in it, and I doubled the ginger, and added the grated zest of an orange, which was a genius move, because it tasted great. I didn’t want to over mix it so it was a bit streaky when I rolled it out, but it got less so when I gathered up the scraps and re-rolled it. The recipe is here. I also recommend checking the biscuits after 12 minutes (the recipe says 14-18, but I find that a bit long).
I used this new rolling pin with the rubber rings round the end to get an even thickness all round – the only disadvantage is that it’s a bit small, so you can’t do a massive piece of dough all at once.
The cutter is a front/back, side and roof. You need two of each per house. If you’re sensible (unlike me), you will cut an equal number of each so you have complete houses. Of course I didn’t and ended up with a few odd pieces, which were the cooks treat, and good for testing the icing before committing to the houses!
A baker friend recommended using meringue powder to make the icing, so I bought a tub from The Vanilla Valley. It’s known as Meri White. It means you don’t need egg whites, so don’t get loads of left over egg yolks. It was really easy, and once I had followed her recipe (1kg icing sugar, 10tbsp meringue powder, 180ml water) I then added orange juice to water it down to the right consistency – so it enhanced the orange in the biscuit. Note this makes a lot of icing – but you can freeze it, and it works just as well when you’ve defrosted it as it does fresh. Some people use less meringue powder, but my friend recommends the recipe from Sweet Ambs, who says it gives more stability, and stops the icing crusting over so quickly before you use it.
We iced the individual pieces first, and left them to dry before building the houses. My 8 year old particularly enjoyed this bit – not sure how much arrives on the biscuit, and how much in her mouth! I think I cut the hole in the icing bag a bit big, but pretty pleased with the results.
She went off to bed once we had done this bit, and I stuck them together later on.
I just piped thick lines of icing on the joins and stuck them together.
I left them to dry for a while before adding the roof.
And then added extra icing as snow along the ridge and edges.
Here they are decorating the table at my Sister’s before they got rapidly consumed by a load of kids.
And of course the obligatory shot of one on a mug! They were a bit big for that – so check the size of your cookie cutter before you buy it, but they made great table decorations.
Related posts: Iced Biscuits (Cookies)