Gingerbread House and Christmas Trees

For the final day of 12 days of Christmas I decided to make a classic gingerbread house and some gingerbread Christmas trees. This is sure to impress your Christmas guests. The recipe makes enough for the house plus 18 Christmas tree cookies. Alternatively, you could make a base for your house with the additional dough. I took the trees to a playgroup Christmas party this morning and all the kids and adults loved them. My family and I will slowly make our way through the house. It is good to have a second set of hands when assembling the house. Someone to pipe the icing and someone to hold the structure. Good luck!

Ingredients:
Biscuit:
– 4 C flour
– 1 t baking soda
– 2 T ground ginger
– 1/2 t mixed spice
– 1/4 t cardamon
– 1/2 t cinnamon
– 2 C brown sugar
– 300g butter
– 2 eggs
– 2 T golden syrup
Royal Icing:
– 1 egg white
– 2 1/2 C Icing sugar
– 1/2 T lemon juice
– 1/2 T lime juice
Decoration
– Christmas M + M’s (red and green)
– 12 pack of candy canes
– 100s and 1000s sprinkles

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 °C and line three trays with baking paper. Make house stencils by cutting one 11cm by 21cm rectangle (roof), one 12cm by 21cm rectangle (walls) and one 15cm by 12cm by 11cm house shape (front/back) out of white paper (see picture below).
2. Place flour, baking soda, ginger, mixed spice, cardamon, cinnamon and brown sugar in a food processor.
3. Add cubed butter and pulse in food processor until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
4. Add eggs and golden syrup and pulse to mix.
5. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. Roll out dough onto lightly floured board until approximately 5mm thick. Cut out house shapes with paper stencils (2 x each stencil = 2 roof, 2 walls and 2 house front/back) and tree shapes with cookie cutters.
7. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden b,rown. Allow to fully cool on wire rack before icing.
8. To make icing: Using an electric beater, beat egg whites until stiff. Add icing sugar, lemon and lime juices and beat until smooth. Place in piping bag to begin decorating.
9. On the front piece of the house, pipe two windows and a door. Use the icing to attach a candy cane to either side of the door and to attach M + M decorations. For the two walls break the top off 10 candy canes so you have sticks. Use icing to stick 5 to each wall panel and stick M + Ms in-between the candy canes. For the two roof panels pipe a hoop type pattern or criss-cross pattern and stick M + Ms on top to add detail.
10. Start assembling the house by first attaching two walls to front of the house followed by the back. Allow this 4 sided structure to dry before attaching the roof. It is a good idea to pipe along the bottom of the walls and attach the structure to a chopping board.
11. To decorate trees – Stick an M + M to the top of the tree then pipe icing in a zigzag pattern across the tree and sprinkle over 100s and 1000s before icing sets.