Gingerbread House


175g butter

175g soft dark brown sugar

3 tbsp golden syrup

700g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Zest and juice (about 50ml) of 1 orange

2 medium free-range eggs

For the decoration

500g box royal icing sugar, made up according to packet instructions.

Your choice of sweets for the presents and rock piles.


  1. For the gingerbread, put the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup into a pan over a very low heat, stirring until the butter and sugar have melted. Set aside to cool.
  2. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and orange zest in a big bowl. Crack the eggs into another bowl.
  3. Add the butter mixture to the flour along with the eggs and orange juice. Mix well, then use your hands to bring together into a ball. Sprinkle a little flour over a clean work surface and knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°c/fan180°c/gas 6. Divide the dough into 3 pieces (about 400g each) and roll out on 3 sheets of baking paper until it’s about the same thickness as a £1 coin.
  5. Cut out the different pieces (you may need to re-roll your trimmings) to construct the house, then transfer the gingerbread shapes, still on their baking paper, to 3 baking sheets.
  6. Transfer the gingerbread sheets to the oven and bake for 9 minutes. Check to see if it is cooked. You may need to bake for 1 more minute. Take the tray out of the oven and carefully slide the gingerbread (still on the baking paper) onto a cooling rack. If the gingerbread has spread, you may need to trim the pieces while still warm to give straight edges. Cool.
  7. Once cold, put the gingerbread in an airtight tin and leave overnight until really crisp – if you decorate the house with icing  too soon, the dough may go soft and the house will not be very stable.
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