✴✴✴ Gingerbread-House ✴✴✴
250 gr. honey
100 gr. sugar
50 gr. butter
100 gr. ground hazelnut
350 gr. flour
½ sachet potassium carbonate
mix ground spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, orange-peel, cardamom, anisseed, clove and dark chocolate-powder
several egg-whites and confectioners sugar as ‚mortar’, sweets for decoration
Heat honey, sugar and butter in a pan until melted, add spices. Mix flour with nuts in a bowl, add an egg and the honey-sugar-butter-spices-mix and the potassium dissolved in a tablespoon of water. Mix and let stand for at least a night.
Roll out the dough to 0,5 – 1 cm and cut out a front and a back part, two sides and two roof parts, using the templates and a knife. Also cut out doors and windows as you like, probably some trees and other things you want to add to the scenery.
Bake for 12 to 15 mins. at 175°C. Let cool completely, so it hardens.
Now it’s time to make ‚mortar’, beating egg-whites and sugar until it’s stiff and spoon the icing into a small plastic-bag where you cut off an edge. I always use toyblocks to stabilize the gingerbread-walls while trying to ‚glue’ the house with the icing. And experience showed it’s wise to let the icing-mortar between the walls dry before you try and set up the roof, otherwise everything slowly glides and falls apart, the tension on the walls is too much.
After letting the construction dry comes the fun part: decorate the house with sweets, glued onto walls and roof with icing. It’s always amazing how many sweets per square decimeter are possible.
The other fun part is destruction-time: After Chrismas the kids are allowed to loot the house, the bits of gingerbread left for the adults can be softened in a tin with an appleslice or made into a crumble, if not too dusty ;-))
I have to make a gingerbread-house every year, my son insists on it, though he only really likes the fun parts. Baking is so la-la, constructing might be interesting, but frankly, children are of no help then, it’s a bit like building a house of cards. Usually it’s a weekend-project, Friday preparing the dough, Saturday baking, Sunday morning its construction-time and Sunday afternoon its time to decorate. I think because it’s quite a lot of work, my Mum only made it twice (she is not too crazy about baking anyway) and lots of people buy prebaked houses which only have to be decorated. I used to work in a youth center, there they had a giant house made of wood, which was only decorated with sweets and looted at the Christmas party as a game, then cleaned and re-used the next year.
The templates are self-made after the shape of the typical medieval houses here in Northern Germany, in our family we call them ‚Lübeck-houses’, after the city my husband comes from. And you can add a light inside the house to shine out of the windows, I use a battery-powered bicycle light.