These cute gingerbread house biscuits are the perfect treat to get you into the festive spirit. They also make a great gift for loved ones.
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The gingerbread family encompasses everything from gingerbread cakes, such as a popular French cake called pain d’epices and a sturdy English cake called parkin, to a wide range of crunchy and soft biscuits. What brings them all together is the warm gingerbread spice, which is typically a mixture of ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice or ground cloves, and nutmeg (a few are commonly combined as a mixed spice blend). Rather than white sugar, gingerbread typically calls for golden syrup, treacle, molasses and brown sugar to add both colour and flavour.
If you’re looking for a simplified version of the classic four-walled gingerbread house, you’re in the right neighbourhood. Build yourself a row of gingerbread townhouses and paint the walls with a simple gingerbread icing of egg white, icing sugar and lemon juice. The best thing about this simple gingerbread recipe is that you can use it to create whatever shapes you like.
These biscuits are made with ingredients you likely already have in the pantry and the melt-and-mix method is easy. Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line 2 trays with baking paper. Ensure your oven racks are placed in the centre for even browning. Place the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Set aside for 20-30 minutes. Once cooled, pour the mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the egg – the mixture must be cool enough that it does not cook. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and mixed spice and stir to combine.
Dust a surface lightly with flour, then tip the dough out. Use your hands to knead gently until smooth, then shape into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Chilling makes the dough easier to work with when rolling and cutting. When the dough has chilled and is firm enough to work with easily, use a rolling pin to flatten it into a 3mm thick disc. Cut out house shapes with a knife or biscuit cutters and place the biscuits on the lined trays. They will be delicate, so you can use a spatula or butter knife to help lift them. Reroll the offcuts. If you are using a biscuit cutter, dipping it in flour before pushing it into the rolled dough may help with cutting and removing each biscuit. You can use any leftover scraps to make free-form cookies or add detail to cut biscuits.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until light golden, swapping the trays halfway through baking. Check the biscuits at about 10 minutes if you have cut small shapes, as small biscuits take less time to cook. Allow to cool completely on wire racks before icing.
The final step is to make the gingerbread house icing. Ensure that you’re using pure icing sugar and not the mixture, which contains cornflour. This 3-ingredient icing is called royal icing and sets hard and shiny, which is great for gingerbread house decorating. You can add food colouring to your icing if you want to get really creative. When you’re ready to decorate, fill your piping bag by setting it in a cup and rolling the edges over the rim to avoid making a mess. You can stick to just icing for gingerbread, or use any number of extras like candy confetti, sprinkles, pearls or even chocolate chips for more detail.
The options for shapes are endless too. Biscuit cutters are available in a wonderful array of shapes, which means you can fit the biscuit to the season or celebration. Take these mini gingerbread houses, which are designed to perch on the rim of a cup. At Christmas, use the same dough to make these vibrant green gingerbread trees, or for Halloween, some gingerbread skeletons. Make hearts for a special thank you, or flowers or stars for a party. Gingerbread biscuits are fun to make with children because flat biscuits are great for smaller hands. Get the kids to make their very own batch of gingerbread to take home as an edible gift!
These gingerbread house biscuits are fun to make at Christmas, and they make a great gift – pop them into a glass jar or a cellophane bag and tie with a ribbon. If you’re looking for other festive biscuits to bake, try these chocolate gingerbread biscuits, chocolate pudding biscuits, shortbread jam stars or minty candy cane crush cookies. Also perfect at Christmas is this gingerbread cheesecake slice, decorated with biscuit stars. But the flavour of gingerbread is wonderful all year round! Try a two-layer gingerbread cake, iced with vanilla buttercream, for a celebration cake. Serve chai poached pear and gingerbread cake for a winter dessert, or gingerbread cherry galette (yep, we’re talking gingerbread pastry in this rustic fruit pie!) in summer. Make some magic with colourful gingerbread wands or for a special movie night at home, make gingerbread spice caramel popcorn.
From foodies and teachers to kids and pets, Coles has Christmas gifts sorted.
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