Making an actual Gingerbread House is beyond me at this time of the year, but these I can do!
They're cute. They have sparkly stuff on them. They're rustic and forgiving. They look fab packaged as a gift, or displayed on the Christmas table as a treat. A 3 year old could make them, so you can too!
Use your favourite Gingerbread cookie recipe or use mine. My cookies are soft and cake-like because I use Gluten Free flour. If you prefer a crisper cookie, maybe do a Google search first.
Mimi's Gingerbread Cookie Dough
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 cups sifted plain (all purpose) flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Allspice
1 teaspoon ground Ginger
Generous grating of whole Nutmeg
You also need Edible Pearl Dust or Edible Glitter to dust the windows and roofs of your little houses. You can make your own, and I have a recipe here, but for Christmas, I prefer to use the real McCoy.
A tiny paintbrush with a pointed end for applying the Pearl Dust.
NB: This is a very forgiving recipe. Use margarine instead of butter, any kind of sugar, replace the honey with molasses, treacle or golden syrup, gluten free flour is fine, use ground Cloves instead of the Allspice and ground Nutmeg if you don't have whole ones to grate. You can also add a tablespoon of Cocoa powder or a pinch of Chilli Powder to give them a bit of depth and kick, if you like.
Cream the butter and sugar with electric beaters till soft and pale. Add the honey and the egg and beat until combined. Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and stir the dough until mixed well. Pop onto a large square of cling wrap, wrap firmly and chill for at least 45 minutes.
Heat the oven to 165C fan forced, and line a large cookie tray with baking paper.
Take the chilled dough, put the whole ball of dough on your lined tray, and top it with another sheet of baking paper. Put a teatowel (kitchen towel) on the bench to stop the tray from slipping around, and roll your dough between the sheets of baking paper, to make it fit the tray as much as possible. I can never quite get it neat enough or large enough to fill the tray, and always end up with some rustic edges, but I like that. Depending upon the size of your tray, you might get a nice neat rectangle, but if it were me, I'd aim for the rustic edges. They look much cuter. Cut any excess that extends beyond the tray. You can re-roll this and cut out stars to add to your display as I have, if you wish.
Take a paring knife or kitchen skewer, and mark out your long rectangles. Vary the lengths and widths to make them look interesting. Then very roughly, mark out little houses on them with the knife or skewer. Don't aim for perfection. These really do look better if they're imperfect.
I neglected to take a photo at this stage, but you then bake your cookies for 8-12 minutes, or until firm to the touch in the very centre. Remove them from the oven, and immediately cut along your marked edges with a sharp pointed knife, to separate them. A pizza cutter works too, but I couldn't find mine!
Now take the brush, dip it into the Pearl Dust, and apply to the roofs, windows and doors of your little houses.
Add some to your stars if you cut some from the dough.
I'm packaging these in cellophane bags for teachers.
I like them.
I hope they do too.
Will you try them?