Anyway, over the years numerous Gingerbread Houses have been made for Christmas, I am not quite sure why we don't make them all year round but probably because of the white icing snow effect. I shall have to think about this as really there is no reason not to use different coloured icing and therefore not have a snowy effect. I don't remember Hansel and Gretel traipsing through the snow, and ending up in the witch's gingerbread house. In fact the more I think about it the more I am sure they didn't because they dropped crumbs of stale bread to find their way back but of course the birds ate them. Those crumbs wouldn't have shown up on snow.
However, I am digressing so back to Gingerbread Houses. Now although I have normally made them with children in mind and have often put a surprise inside, there always seems to be adults tucking in as well. Ginger is definitely a popular adult taste and my Mother always requests ginger goodies if asked what she would like for birthdays or Christmas. So with this in mind I thought about creating a Gingerbread House for adults. As we always seem to be worried about eating too many Christmas treats a small size won't make anyone feel too guilty! Now I said that it is fun to have a surprise inside the houses and this one is of a very gingery sort. The house is built around a gingerbread cake that has been cut in half and filled with a piece of stem ginger and then a ginger buttercream to hold it all together.
Gingerbread Surprise House
Gingerbread Cake recipe from Good Housekeeping Cookery Book
450g Plain Flour
5 ml Salt
15 ml Ground Ginger
15 ml Baking powder
5 ml Bicarbonate of Soda
225g Demerara Sugar
175g Butter or margarine
175g Golden Syrup
250 ml Milk
1 Egg, beaten
Grease and line a 23cm square cake tin. (I actually used individual square cake tins). Sift the flour, salt, ginger, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Warm the sugar, fat, treacle and syrup until melted, but do not allow to boil. Mix in the milk and the egg. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the liquid and mix thoroughly.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in the oven at 170C (Mark 3) for about one and half hours, or until firm to the touch. Turn out to cool on a wire rack.
I have had this recipe for years written on a piece of notepaper, but I think it came from one of my sisters. Another imperial measurement one!
12 oz Plain Flour
1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
4 oz Butter, diced
6 oz Soft Light Brown Sugar or Muscovado Sugar
4 tablespoons Golden Syrup
1 Egg, beaten
Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar. Beat the syrup into the egg, then stir into the flour mix. Mix together to form a smooth dough then knead until smooth.
Divide the mixture into two and roll out half at a time on a floured surface until quarter inch thick. Cut out shapes and place on greased baking sheets. Bake at Gas 5 for 12 to 15 minutes. Leave to cool slightly then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Having made the gingerbread cake I then cut templates to make my house.