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3D Gingerbread house biscuits

14 AUGUST 2014
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Makes: 1 delicious house
Preparation time: 1 day
Baking time: 10 - 12 minutes

Ingredients

Gingerbread dough

825g (1lb 13oz) self-raising flour plus extra for rolling
250g (9oz) unsalted butter, cubed
250g (9oz) Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Dark Muscovado Sugar
4 rounded tsp ground ginger
2 rounded tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, beaten
250g (9oz) Lyle’s Black Treacle

Icing

5 large egg whites or 150g (5oz) liquid egg white
1kg (2lbs) Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Icing Sugar plus extra for sifting

Decoration

A selection of:

wafer blossoms
sugar flower decorations
carrots & sprinkles
pale blue & green food paste colours
white & orange sweets
desiccated coconut
white chocolate pretzels
chocolate bunnies

You will also need:

tracing paper and cardboard to trace the gingerbread house patterns out using the templates
a 6.5cm (2¾”) oval cutter
3 baking trays
a piping bag with a 1cm (½”) plain nozzle
2 disposable piping bags
a 40x25.5cm (16”x10”) cake board, tray or flat plate
a pair of food safe disposable gloves

Method

Make the dough. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the Tate & Lyle Dark Muscovado Sugar and spices.

Beat the eggs and Lyle’s Black Treacle together in a small bowl, then stir into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon to make a firm dough.

Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead to bring together until smooth. Divide into two batches, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes - no longer or it becomes too hard to easily roll.

On a lightly floured surface thinly roll the dough out to about 5mm (¼”) thick and using the templates cut out two rectangles for the roof 21x11cm (8½”x4½”), two for the front and back walls 18x10cm (7”x4”) and two gable ends 14x10x10cm (5½”x 4”x4”) for the side walls. Using the oval cutter cut out a window from one of the gable ends, and cut out two ovals from the dough for the front door and the window. Re-roll any trimmings. Any leftover dough can be cut into Easter animal shapes, people and flowers.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan180°, 400°F, Gas 6.

Carefully transfer the shapes to baking trays using a fish slice, slightly spaced apart, and bake in batches on the top and middle shelves of the oven for 10-12 minutes until slightly firm and the edges are darker brown than the middles. Leave to cool for 5 minutes until firmed up and then carefully slide onto a wire rack to cool.

Make the icing by lightly beating the egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Sift over the Tate & Lyle Icing Sugar and mix well until smooth, thick and spreadable. Cover the surface directly with a cling film and keep covered when not using.

Spoon some of the icing into the piping bag and nozzle. To build the house, on the cake board, hold the front and one of the sides of the house together to form a corner and prop them up with small cans of food. Pipe icing on one of the outside edges and hold together briefly until the icing starts to set. Repeat with the other sides of the house to form a box, using more cans for propping. Leave to dry for about 30 minutes

On the underside of one of the roof pieces, pipe two lines of icing and affix to the house. Hold until the icing starts to set. Repeat with second roof piece.

Leave the icing on the house to completely dry out, for a minimum of 4 hours but ideally overnight so it becomes firm enough to decorate.

Pipe a line of icing the shape of the house onto the cake board and carefully place the house on top to stick it into position. Leave for about an hour to dry.

Cover the door with white icing and leave to dry. Tint a little icing with green colour. Using a disposable piping bag, snip off the end, fill with the icing and pipe on a decorative edge. Stick on a few sprinkles to make a door wreath. Tint a little icing with blue colour and use to cover the window, then leave to dry. Using a disposable piping bag, snip off the end, fill with some white icing and pipe a window pane and a decorative edge. Leave to dry. Pipe blobs of icing on the backs of the door and window and fix in place on the house.

Using some icing stick a few sugared flowers in the open window on the side of the house to create a window box.

Using a small palette knife spread icing over the front of the house and stick on the white sweets. Repeat with the back and sides.

Next, spread icing over the roof tops and decorate with the wafer flowers. Spread icing over the cake board to completely cover it.

Create a path by using the white and orange sweets. Make a flowerbed and vegetable patch using the sugar flowers and carrots. Stick everything on with a dab of icing.

Put the desiccated coconut in a small bowl, add a few drops of green colour and, using the disposable gloves, rub together to create ‘grass.’ Scatter around the path and flower and vegetable patches.

Make a fence by putting a little icing on the bottom of the pretzels and stick them around the edge of the cake board.

Place the chocolate bunnies around the house and in the vegetable patch and then the Easter house is ready.

Baker's tip: make-ahead

The gingerbread house can be made 1 month ahead although it’s best only for display, rather than eating, as the gingerbread will dry out.

This recipe was made using Tate & Lyle Sugars, the perfect store-cupboard staple for bakers. For more delicious recipes, visit www.tasteandsmile.co.uk

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