< Christmas
< Christmas Food

Snowball Truffles
Medlar Jelly
Real Meat Mince Pies
Chocolate-dipped Orange Peel
Speculaas Biscuits
Apricot and Ginger Mincemeat
Caribbean Christmas Cake
Tamsin’s Mum’s Christmas Pudding
Italian Christmas Cake
Christmas Gingerbread Houses

Christmas Gingerbread Houses

The kids love designing these, and they make good Christmas gifts for friends and relatives. You can decorate them with piles of marshmallows and tiny Christmas figures on the snowy roof. And of course you can eat them too...

Makes 4 houses

For the gingerbread dough:

50g unsalted butter
100g light muscovado sugar
4 level tbsp golden syrup
2 level tbsp black treacle
350g plain flour
1½ level tbsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
2 egg yolks

Heat the oven to 190 degrees C/Gas Mark 5. Gently melt the butter, sugar, syrup and treacle in a pan. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, then stir in the eggs and syrup mixture and knead to a smooth dough.
Divide the mixture into four, wrap the sections in cling-film and place in the fridge. After half an hour, roll out one section to 4mm thick, then using the templates above (drawn on thin card), cut out 2 pieces of each shape. Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake for 5 to 8 mins until lightly browned. Keep checking – they can burn in an instant. Repeat with the other three sections.

To decorate:
White icing (kids usually find the pre-made nozzled tubes easy to use)
4 small cakeboards (or make your own by covering a square of cardboard with silver foil)

Decorate the sides of the house by drawing on icing windows and doors. Write your name on the roof, and leave the icing to dry. To stick the house together, pipe a line of icing along the side and end walls, then press them together to form a box shape. Squeeze lines of icing along the bottom of the house and fix it gently on to the cakeboard. Squeeze a line of icing along the top of the walls, then press the two roof halves gently in place and ice along the top of the join to finish. Leave to dry.
For presents, wrap them in cellophane (you can get coloured cellophane from Lakeland) and tie with a big bow.