- 250 gram (8 ounces) butter, softened
- 1 cup (220g) firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 cup (350g) golden syrup
- 2 egg yolks
- 5 cup (750g) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 2 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoon mixed spice
- 2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 sheet cardboard
- 28 centimetre x 33cm (11¼-inches x 13¼-inches) covered board
- 700 gram (1½ pounds) assorted sweets
- desiccated coconut, for `snow' glaze
- 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatine royal icing
- 2 egg whites
- 3 1/4 cup s (500g) pure icing (confectioners') sugar, approximately
- 1/2 teaspoon strained lemon juice
- 1Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in golden syrup and egg yolks. Sift in flour, spices and soda; stir to combine. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide dough in half, cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for 1 hour
- 2Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F. Cut cardboard into a 20cm (8-inch) square and a 20cm (8-inch) equilateral triangle (all the sides are the same length). Roll one dough half on a piece of baking paper into a 5mm (¼-inch) thickness
- 3Using cardboard templates, cut out one square and one triangle; remove excess dough. Slide shapes, still on baking paper, onto a large oven tray. Roll out remaining dough half; cut out another square and triangle; remove excess dough. Place, still on baking paper, on another oven tray.
- 4Cut out a door and window from one triangle (keep door shape, discard window); place door on tray with other shapes; bake door about 30 minutes; bake larger shapes for about 40 minutes or until firm. Stand shapes for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool
- 5Make glaze; while the gingerbread is still warm, combine sugar, water and gelatine in a small microwave-safe dish. Microwave on MEDIUM (55%) for 30 seconds; stir until sugar dissolves.
- 6Make royal icing; Lightly beat egg whites in a small bowl, on low speed, with an electric mixer until just broken up; do not whip into peaks. Beat in the icing sugar, a tablespoon at a time, to get the required piping consistency, then stir in juice. Cover surface of icing with plastic wrap to prevent drying.
- 7Brush all gingerbread shapes with the glaze while still warm; stand until cool. Spread a thin layer of icing on the covered board (to use as a non-slip base). Assemble gingerbread house on board, as pictured, using icing to secure pieces together; stand until set. Sprinkle desiccated coconut on board around the house. Spoon icing into a piping bag, pipe along all joins. Position the door in place with icing. Stand until set.
- 8Thin a small amount of remaining icing with a little water; pipe peaks of icing on the underside of roof to represent snow/icicles. Stand until set. Using a small plain tube, pipe an outline around the window and door. Decorate house with sweets; secure to house with icing.
The gingerbread house can be assembled up to 1 week ahead; store in an enclosed box in a cool dry place. If weather is humid, assemble 2 days ahead. Use leftover dough to cut out snowflake and other Christmas-themed biscuits for gifts or a Christmas tree. Instead of cutting out a window, you could do what we've done in the picture above; use a heart-shaped cutter to cut shape from dough; attach to house with a little icing, stand until set.
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