Monday, 12 December 2011

Gingerbread House

Call me a scrooge, but I've struggled to get into the Christmas Spirit so far this year. Perhaps it's because I've been so busy at work, perhaps it's the incessant rain beating down on the North of England that turns everything a miserable shade of grey. Perhaps, (and this is the most likely) I'm just a grumpy dude who needs to lighten up once in awhile. Having said that, when Charlie suggested that we make a Gingerbread House this weekend my eyes lit up like a 6-year old on Christmas morning...I couldn't be more excited.


So we headed off into town for candy...lots and lots of candy. 
lots and lots of candy
Being a Sunday, we decided to kick the day off with a trip down to the local for a full English washed down with a pint of the black stuff (or in Charlie's case, a J2O). Every now and again there's absolutely nothing better than a couple of reheated sausages, overdone eggs and a soggy mushroom - it's good to be British.
fried stuff...
So we quickly rounded up the necessaries, including a rather hefty bag of pick-and-mix from my new favourite shop - Sugarcane...I could quite literally spend hours in there. I'm like a kid in a candy store (it had to be done).
I'd never made gingerbread before, and as it turns out..it's an absolute cinch. You will need...
  • 250g butter
  • 200g dark muscavado sugar
  • 7 tablespoons golden syrup (or if you run out, like i did, substitute a couple tbsps of dark treacle..works just as well)
  • 600g plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 4 tsp ground ginger

Gently melt the butter, sugar and syrup, then mix into the dry ingredients until it's a nice elastic, fudge-like consistency. Let it cool, roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/2 cm thickness, cut out the walls, sides and any other shapes you're going to need and transfer to baking sheets.
 Bake at about 200C for 12 minutes or so, until the gingerbread just starts to brown around the edges. I found that it expanded big-time (the gingerbread, not...nevermind), so pull it out quickly (stop it) and whilst it's still warm trim it back down to the right size (sick). Let cool.
For the icing, either cheat and buy a tub of Royal Icing (which, admittedly, we tried to do..but were unsuccessful in our search), or find yourself an able-bodied girlfriend with strong wrists to whisk together 2 egg whites and 500g of icing sugar to make a thick, sticky icing.

And that's that. Use the icing to cement the foundations together, let it harden and then - if you're like my girlfriend - clean everything up, set up 'decorating stations' and have some good, organised fun. If you're like me, throw everything on the table, shove sugar in your face and go nuts creating the kind of bonkers house that only Krusty the Clown on an acid trip would ever consider inhabiting. Now it's Christmas.







MERRY CHRISTMAS

4 comments:

  1. very funny! (why didn't you make one for us.)

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  2. Tom this made me so depressed I am openly weeping at my desk. Merry Christmas.

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