Sunday, 15 December 2013

Gingerbread House 2013

This year, I wanted to attempt a Gingerbread House.  However; as you may know from this blog, if there is a shortcut, I am very likely to find and use it, so a pre-made, pre-cut house from IKEA was purchased in October so I could concentrate on the decorating and create it all whilst watching another bad Channel 5 Christmas Movie [I love, love, love them].
The pack contains the four sides, two roof pieces and four chimney pieces, complete with instructions of how to construct your house:
I have been pinning ideas for a while and the houses that have all caught my eye this year are the white piped decorations, with a little shimmer and sugar, but beautiful intricate royal icing designs, so I decided to start simple and have piped designs, rather than buy as many pastel sweets as I could and throw them at it [this will be happening next year though].

To create enough icing to decorate, fix together and complete the whole house, I used 20ml of water and 150g of royal icing.  This created a consistency I was happy with and that allowed me to pipe designs that dried fairly quickly and kept their shape.

I don't know if this ins unconventional, but I decorated all my pieces before putting the house together.    This meant I could decorate easily, without negotiating funny angles or dripping icing and after leaving to completely dry, the design was rock, solid.  I piped using the pre-made impressions as my guide for the roof [where I concentrated all my design], windows and doors:
I found using a disposable piping bag with a small round tip the easiest - practicing on a piece of parchment paper first to become familiar with the pressure and flow I should be using to create straight[ish] and even lines of royal icing.
For the decoration, I used Sainsburys snowflakes, stars and some white sugar circles to keep
the design simple, but add a little detail and subtle colour:
When adding and sweets or sprinkles for decoration, work in stages to prevent the icing from drying.
[I sort of wish I'd added a sprinkle of sugar to it all to catch the plain icing and add a bit of sparkle
and shimmer - but there's always next year].

Once completely dry, I lined each join with a generous line of icing and held the pieces together.  The drying process is much, much quicker than I expected, but you can use some kitchen equipment to help hold everything in place if you are wary.  The most nerve wracking section was adding the roof.  I decided to add on side first and let it completely dry before adding the other.

Don't forget about the chimney.  After the relief of everything standing and the roof not falling, I forgot about the chimney.  As I decorated my roof before hand, I didn't have to cover and pipe over this section - so maybe mark the chimney section and leave this area design free to make it slightly easier for when fixing them together at the end if you decide to decorate before assembling too?
For a final finish, I added icicles to the roof and I really then had to stop myself from adding little bits more here and there, as I could have gone on forever:

...easily created - pipe a generous line of icing and them drag at random points, pulling the icing down to create the effect - add more icing to sections to vary the thickness, style and length of the icicles.

If you have an IKEA anywhere near you, I thoroughly recommend - I loved this.

P.S - these last until October 2014, so I picked up another pack to create a Haunted House next Halloween ........ [not really thinking about that yet].

see you next time x

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