Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Gingerbread House: Bake and Shape

Apologies for the pretty rubbish photos- and the timing of posting not being as promised- we've been having surprise power cuts off and on for the past 24 hours- not helping my baking/blogging go to plan! Having to rush things in-between power vanishing....then coming on...then vanishing again.....

 Two lots of ginger dough and one of chocolate dough made? Chilled in the fridge? Icing ready?
Time to make the house.
Take the dough from the fridge, roll out one of the ginger dough balls to a generous quarter of an inch thick, it is thicker than you might make a biscuit so that the house and base are sturdy and won't break easily as you build them. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter and a ruler, cut out Ginger squares. I cut mine 3", this means I can cut intarsia hearts and stars within them, but it also means I need to trim the base down to fit onto my cake plate after cooking. Roll out the chocolate dough and cut 5 squares.
Line your baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment. Arrange the gingerbread squares carefully on this, butting them up to eachother -as they cook they will stick together- to make a chequerboard effect with a chocolate square in the centre.


 If you want to do an intarsia effect, use a cutter to take a shape out from the centre of the centre square, from your spare ginger dough, cut the same shape out and put it into the hole in the chocolate dough square. Cut a hole in one of the ginger squares and place the chocolate shape into this hole. Continue until all the squares have intarsia shapes. If feeling adventurous, put another even smaller shape in the centre.


Cut half inch strips from your left over dough and place around the squares, this holds the squares together for baking and gives a nice border- if your serving plate is large enough you will not trim the the base down after cooking, if it is smaller you will trim it and eat the trimmings!


Bake the base in a preheated oven, Fan 180/ 190/350 F for about 12 minutes or until nicely browned.
Remove from oven and cool slightly, whilst it is still warm trim if required, use a ruler and a serrated knife to gently saw the gingerbread into shape. If using little wire stemmed 'trees' stick them into the gingerbread before it is cooled and hard as they will break the gingerbread put into it when it is fully hardened. Once cooled, slide base carefully onto a presentation plate or board.

The House- roll out more ginger dough. Using your templates and a sharp knife/pizza cutter, trim out two of each shape.


 Lay them on nonstick baking paper on baking sheets. Cool in the fridge before cooking as it will help prevent spreading as they cook. If you want to, do some intarsia shapes on the walls and front and back gable of the house, using the same technique as the base. Cook as above, when  slightly cool, use you templates as a guide to trim the shapes accurately- they will spread as they cook- a serrated knife and gentle sawing motion will cut the gingerbread cleanly without cracking it. Do NOT attempt to cut it when it has fully cooled and gone hard- it will break! Let your house pieces cool completely before starting the next stage, building the house.

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