Snowy Gingerbread Cottage
2 h. 30 min.
ready in 14 h. 30 min.
Heat the oven to 180ºC (160º fan) gas mark 4. Line 2 large baking trays with non stick baking paper. Make templates from thin card. For the front and back walls: 12cm x 17cm plus triangles 17cm wide and 12cm high for the gables; side walls: 20cm x 12cm; roof: 20cm x 17cm. You will need 2 of each.
Heat the butter with the sugars, golden syrup and treacle in a pan until just melted, but don’t allow to become too hot. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a mixing bowl. Add the melted butter mixture and mix together. Knead the mixture for a few seconds until it comes together, adding a little water if necessary. Flatten the dough into a circle about 2cm thick, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out about a quarter of the dough to 5mm thick. Place the card templates on the dough and cut around it with a sharp knife, then slide the dough on to a baking tray, re-rolling the dough as necessary. Moisten the bottom of the gable triangles and carefully attach to the front and back walls, pressing the dough together gently. Cut out patterns in the gables.
Bake all the pieces in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Leave for a few minutes on the baking trays to firm up then carefully lift each piece onto a wire rack, and leave all the pieces to cool completely. Put the gingerbread in an airtight tin and leave overnight until crisp – if you decorate the house with icing too soon, the dough may become soft and the house will be wobbly.
Mix the egg whites with enough icing sugar to make a thick paste. Glue the walls of the house together, building around a small bowl placed on a work surface to prevent the walls collapsing inwards, and then attach the roof. Use the glue to attach the breakfast cereals to the roof as tiles. Use the remaining icing glue to make 'snow' on the roof of the house.
Mix a little of the remaining icing sugar with enough water to make a paste, do the same with the red and green colourings then place in piping bags fitted with a small nozzle. Pipe on doors, windows and other patterns then dust the roof with a little icing sugar.