I have made gingerbread houses a handful of times in the past, often with friends as an afternoon activity in the school holidays. I didn’t make one last year as I didn’t get the time to, but thought I’d put in a bit of effort this year to create a modest little home for some gingerbread people.
As usual, I adapted a traditional gingerbread recipe from a cookbook I have at home into a vegan recipe and hoped for the best. I think it came out pretty well! I wasn’t very prepared on the decorations front, I admit I could’ve done better with that. But the actual house structure was a success.
Vegan Gingerbread House
For the dough:
- 350g plain flour
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 100g margarine
- 175g light brown sugar
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
- a splash of plant-based milk
For the caramel and decoration:
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 25ml water
- 50g icing sugar
- decorations of your choosing (could include vegan chocolate/sweets, food colouring for the icing sugar, vegan buttercream icing/ganache, etc.)
- Grease and line three baking trays and set the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
- Place the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger in a mixing bowl. Rub in the margarine with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar.
- Add the golden syrup and plant-based milk and mix until a dough is formed. Split this in half and turn one half out onto a floured surface. Roll it out to a thickness of roughly 5mm.
- Using a knife, cut two house-shaped pieces (a square with a triangle on top), that measure 5 inches along the bottom and up the sides, with the edges of the triangles measuring roughly 3 inches. Place these on one of the prepared trays and put the extra dough trimmings to the side.
- Roll out the other half of the dough, and cut two rectangles measuring 5 inches by 7 inches. Put these on another tray.
- Combine all of the remaining dough, roll out once more and cut out two rectangles measuring 7 inches by 3.5 inches. Put these on the last tray. Each tray needs to be in the oven for 7-9 minutes, until the gingerbread begins to brown around the edges. If you have leftover dough, you could make these into cookies – I used a Christmas tree cutter to make 8 small extra biscuits (these might need less time in the oven, so keep an eye on them to check they don’t burn).
- Once you’ve taken the big pieces out of the oven, leave them to cool for a couple of minutes before using a sharp knife to trim up each edge. Don’t let them go cold before you do this as they become hard and will be likely to snap.
- When they’re completely cold, it is time for construction! To make the caramel, place the sugar and water in a small pan and simmer for five minutes or so – it should turn a rich golden colour. Turn the heat off, let it sit for a minute or two and then use a spoon to apply the caramel to each edge of the gingerbread walls as you attach it on to the rest of the structure. This is a lot easier with two people!
- The house-shaped pieces should be at either end, the 5×7 rectangles acting as the walls in between these, and the 3.5×7 rectangles placed on top as the roof. Once it’s all stuck together, you may want to add extra caramel to some of the gaps to make sure it all holds up.
- Once the caramel sets, all that’s left to do is to decorate! I didn’t have much in the house in terms of decoration, so I simply made icing (icing sugar, a splash of water and a little food colouring), stuck on some vegan chocolate with the leftover caramel, and decorated two of my tree biscuits to place outside. A few of the biscuit cutoffs became the door frame too. I sieved icing sugar on top and considered it finished!
Gingerbread houses, in my experience, are generally best eaten immediately, otherwise they tend to go stale quite fast. It is a bit of a shame to eat it that quickly if you make a really lovely one, but it does taste amazing!
The photos in this post were taken by the lovely Iñigo, @inigomiranda on Instagram, so thank you for helping me make this post happen!
Want to read more Blogmas posts? Scroll to the bottom of Day One for the full list.
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