Friday 4 December 2015

DIY Christmas // Gingerbread House

Over the next few weeks, I'm so happy to be teaming up with Lakeland for a few Christmas themed DIYs and reviews.  Today, it's the smell of Christmas - the Gingerbread House.

[If you fancy having a double-speed peek at the whole make, head over to the TTSM YouTube Channel - I'd love to know what you think!]

Lakeland sent me their Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter, set to try out and review.
[They also sent me a few to giveaway - so check out the details at the end of the post!]

If you've been around this blog at Christmas, you'll know I am usually more of a gingerbread house decorator than maker.  I've never made gingerbread or the house parts before - let's see how it goes!

The kit comes with a recipe, instructions and it all fits neatly considering the house it makes is around. And a recipe and instructions that fit on the back of the packaging is my kind of recipe.

The first part takes place in a saucepan, over a low heat.  Melt your butter then add your sugar and golden syrup.  Once combined, remove from the heat and continue to stir as you add the flour, salt, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda.  Continue until a thick dough forms:
It looked like gingerbread and it smelt like gingerbread.  So far, so good.

Pre-heat your oven to 170°C.

On a lightly floured piece of baking paper, roll your dough to around the thickness of a £1 coin and use each cutter in turn to create the house, gingerbread characters and christmas trees.  
Remove the excess and roll out again until all your pieces have been cut...
[the instructions on the back of the packaging tell you what to cut and how many pieces of each cutter are needed]:

...then transfer your cut dough to a baking tray and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes:

After you have enjoyed the smell that now fills your house, it's worth making for that alone, remove from the oven [only a few singed feet and trunks] and pop on a rack to cool and harden.

In the meantime, make your icing.
Whisk 3 egg whites [I went for medium sized] slowly in with 500g of sifted icing sugar and 1tsp cream of tartar. 
[Once this stuff sets - there's no breaking it.  It's magic.]

When I've previously decorated gingerbread houses, I've been a fan of starting to decorate first, allowing the icing to set and then trying to build the house, before adding any final touches.

Decorating with icing is difficult enough, without having to try doing it vertically -
I highly recommend doing the bulk of the decorating first - but feel free to swap this and the gingerbread house construction steps around!

Transfer the icing in to a piping bag and cut a small hole at the end -
this will allow you to have more control over the icing and flow for decorating.

When complete, make the cut larger for the construction when the icing was being used more as a glue.

Grab some glasses/egg cups/anything that will hold your pieces in place and let's get building.
On a cake board, start with fixing in place the walls:
..and once they have had time to set in place [around 20-30 minutes] it's time to add the roof:
[with much help from some glasses]
Once I could bring myself to remove the scaffolding, I added the chimney, windows, doors, trees and gingerbread men and then left the whole thing overnight to set and test my nerves.

Only one casualty!
Once replanting the tree, I added some final touches.
White chocolate button roof tiles, candy canes and a dusting of icing sugar
[my tips are to sprinkle from high and in stages to get  an even covering]:
In total, I made the house over two days: making the dough and building the structure on day one
 [over a period of 4 hours, with much coffee, lunch and catching up on IACGMOOH in between]
and then the final touches the following morning - no more than 1 hour from start to washing up.
This was much easier [and more fun!] than I expected.
I'm also pretty sure I won't be able to help myself and will add a few more decorations over
 the next few weeks [or it's a great activity for kids to get involved with too].
The set costs £5.25 and is available in-store and online.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  Are you making a gingerbread house this year? Let me know if you do give it a try.  You can see the whole process from dough to building to decorating over on YouTube - enjoy!

P.S - I recommend a little browse of the other amazing gingerbread-realted products
[the reindeer and jumper cake in particular have my name on it!].

The Giveaway is now closed.

Blog: Congrats Cristino1985!
Twitter: Well done Laura Pritchard!
Facebook: Congrats Cara Swinburne!

Please email me your address [] and your cutters will be on their way!

Lakeland have kindly sent me 3 sets of the Gingerbread House Cookie Cutters to giveaway!
If I can make this - so can you, so why not enter? There are three ways in which you can do so and I'll be using a number generator to help me select a winner from each:

1. The Blog: Leave a comment below on this blog post.  Tell me your favourite Christmas craft, how you'd decorate your gingerbread house if you win - whatever you like!
2. Twitter: Tweet I've entered the TTSM Christmas giveaway! #TTSMChristmasGiveaway
3. Facebook: Leave a comment on the giveaway post [as above - tell me your favourite Christmas craft, how you'd decorate your gingerbread house or whatever you like]

You can enter via one, two or all three of the ways - but please enter each only once [any additional entries will be deleted].

A few notes/rules:
  • This giveaway is international!
  • The giveaway ends on Friday, 11th December at 9pm GMT.
  • Unfortunately, if you are not from the UK I cannot guarantee that the prize will reach you before Christmas [but who says gingerbread houses can't be made any other time?!]
Any questions, please do ask me and Good Luck!
Check back here on Saturday 12th December at 8am to see if you are a winner.

Notes: Some of the links in this post are affiliates [you can read more about that here].  Thank you so much to Lakeland for asking me to review the gingerbread house cookie cutter set and providing the giveaway prizes! Many thanks for your support!



  2. I absolutely love all things gift-wrapping related, that's my favorite Christmas craft!

  3. We are going to attempt TMNT baubles this year

  4. I love making gingerbread houses! I made a train last year!

    - Judith

  5. I love making gingerbread houses with my grandchildren, it's a tradition now. I use jelly tots and chocolate buttons, the video is really good gave me some ideas.

  6. My favourite Christmas craft IS making gingerbread! Love the You Tube channel, bravo!

  7. I love making gingerbread with my kids i would use candy canes and silver sugar balls to decorate my gingerbread house

  8. i love making my own Christmas table decorations and Christmas wreath for the door, I had orders for ones from family and neighbours

  9. I'd decorate the gingerbread house with chocolate buttons and marshmallows

  10. My favourite Christmas craft is baking, I love being able to get the kids involved. I would love to cover this house in snow frosted Windows and chocolate buttons for slates. I would love to try melting boiled sweets in the windows

  11. This year I've made a lot of paper chains with the kids. The house is covered!

    If we won this we'd decorate the house with icing,marshmallows, skittles, 100s+100s and silver balls :)

  12. I mad an advent Xmas house a couple of years back

  13. our favourite Christmas craft is making swags, a wreath and table centre piece using greenery from our garden - holly, ivy, various evergreens.
    The trick to the swags is to use lots of green gardening twine as it is invisible once the swags are hung up and it makes the swags really secure. I save any red and gold ribbons, even small bits, and they all get repurposed into decorations for the swags. Over the years we have got better and better at this and last year our centre piece was at least as good as one for sale in our local posh florist for £50! Plus it's a fun activity to do one weekend in December, while listening to Xmas songs and drinking mulled wine.

  14. I love decorating gingerbread men with my children.

  15. I love making paper chains at Christmas with my boys

  16. Ooh I love that, it's fantastic! I'd decorate my house fairly similarly to you, but I'd also add jelly sweets and smarties :)

  17. I love making gingerbread men with my daughter xx

  18. Marvellous, such a magical creation! Almost too pretty to eat.

  19. Such a lovely ginger bread house. Have never did such arrangements but would love to do it. Will be arranging similar party house at one of Chicago event venues. Going to hire event planners and best catering service for it.

  20. Seriously I was overwhelmed with the 'Smell of Christmas' project. The DIY gingerbread house attractions you spread on this bright white page was an appealing and delighted read. The photos were too much beautiful that can't be ignored to stick on those. Love your amazing ideas and thoughts. In fact, I was on-warding to pink up some good looking design and color variant for our ceiling tiles and wall panels, but this was incredibly impressible. Simply love your decent stuff.

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