Halved jubes, candy canes, licorice allsorts, White Choc Melts, silver cachous and icing sugar mixture, to decorate
Royal Icing2 egg whites
1 Stir butter, brown sugar and treacle in a saucepan, over a medium heat, until melted. Transfer to a large bowl. Cool slightly. Add eggs and combined sifted flours, ground ginger and mixed spice. Stir until mixture forms a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth. Divide into two portions. Refrigerate, covered, for about 1 hour, or until firm.
2 Cut out cardboard templates following, pattern. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1cm in thickness. Using templates, cut out two pieces for roof, front and back walls and side walls. Cut out one base and
a tree using a 9.5cm tree cutter. Place on oven trays lined with baking paper.
3 Cook, one tray at a time, in a moderately hot oven (190C) for about 10 minutes, or until golden and firm. Cool on trays for 5 minutes. While warm, cut out windows with a small 3.5cm heart-shaped cutter on both walls. Cut out a door on front wall with a small, sharp knife. Cool on a wire rack.
4 To make royal icing, beat egg whites with electric mixer, until frothy. Add icing sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating until a thick paste forms. Spoon into
a piping bag, with a 1cm plain nozzle.
5 To assemble house, place base on
a flat surface. Assemble back, front and side walls, using icing as glue. Hold pieces in place for 30 seconds, or until slightly set. Attach roof and door. Pipe over the outside of all joins to secure. Stand for 1 hour to slightly set.
6 Using icing as glue, decorate house and tree with lollies, as pictured. Secure tree with icing. Dust with sifted icing sugar mixture. Stand overnight to set.
■ Royal icing should be thick and sticky. Hold walls firmly in place for about 30 seconds and they should hold easily. If you’re having trouble holding up the walls, place a few cans in the middle of the house to prop the walls up against. Don’t forget to remove cans before attaching the roof.
■ To make roof tiles, start at the base of the roof. Pipe on a length of icing. Press on Choc Melts. Repeat piping icing and pressing on Melts, slightly overlapping, as you go. Pipe extra icing along roof peak to resemble snow.
■ Gingerbread house can be made up to two weeks ahead. Store in an airtight container.
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