Making a gingerbread house this Christmas? We have the best recipe and equipment for delicious results.
A brilliant baking project – making your own gingerbread is a lovely way to fill the kitchen with wonderfully Christmassy aromas. Have fun building a house together and get creative with the decoration.
HOW TO MAKE A GINGERBREAD HOUSE
It’s the warming spices that make gingerbread so festive. Nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and allspice create a gorgeous balance of heat, sweetness and classic Christmas flavour. Add orange zest and dark sugar, and you’re onto a real winner.
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons treacle
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
200g unsalted butter
460g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 free-range egg whites
500g icing sugar
sweets and edible glitter, to decorate
Put a small saucepan on a low heat, add the maple syrup, treacle, sugar, ginger and cinnamon with 4 tablespoons of water and combine with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until the mixture boils.
- Carefully take the pan off the heat, then cube up and add the butter, saving 1 piece. Let it all melt in, stirring to combine, then grate in the orange zest.
- Stir in the flour and baking powder until everything comes together as a dough – if it’s very sticky, dust it with flour – then wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
ROLLING & SHAPING THE DOUGH
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
- Grease a baking tray with the reserved butter. Dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour, then roll the dough out to about 5mm thick.
BUILDING YOUR GINGERBREAD HOUSE
- Using a sharp knife, cut out pieces for your house – you’ll need to cut six pieces in three different shapes.
- Place your house pieces onto the tray, leaving a 1cm gap between them. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden and slightly darker around the edges. Let the gingerbread cool completely before icing.
DECORATING YOUR GINGERBREAD
- Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks then, while whisking, gradually mix in the icing sugar till you have a dense stiff meringue. Use this to glue your gingerbread pieces together. Decorate with sweets, using more of the icing as glue, then very lightly dust with glitter for sparkly snow.
HOW TO STORE YOUR GINGERBREAD HOUSE
- If you want to get ahead on your gingerbread house, make your dough, roll it out in the dimensions you need, then freeze it. Once frozen, wrap the pieces individually in clingfilm and bundle them together, then you can unwrap and bake straight from frozen when you need to.
Once baked, your gingerbread house will be good to eat for about 5 days.
If you’re not ready to go straight into a gingerbread house, why not practice by making Jools’ gingerbread men:
Discover Jamie’s ultimate recipes for all the festive classics in Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook, on sale now.
Head to the Christmas Hub for loads of seasonal inspiration for everything from cocktails and edible gifts to special diet recipes and tasty leftovers.