Monday, 1 December 2014

Gingerbread Houses (Egg and Wheat Free) [Back Dated]

Merry Christmas everyone! This is Sweetie Pie speaking from the future, as I said in my first blog of 2015, I would be back-dating all my Christmas nomnoms, due to not being able to upload them during the Christmas period... this is like Back to the Future in baking form...

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I decided that this year I would make everyone's presents by hand, and make them edible, and that I did! This year is a completely handmade affair. Along with the usual mince pies and Christmas cake, there is:

 Gluten free fairy cakes, with vegan buttercream
 Chocolate coated fudge, in a variety of flavours
 Gingerbread houses and biscuits with icing
 Filled moulded chocolates
 Pecan nut shortbread biscuits
 Dairy free Irish cream liqueur

It has been very busy in the kitchen this December, and I'm very proud of myself! I have a lot of catch-up blogging to do, and you all have a lot of catch-up reading...


But without further ado, I present to you wheat- and egg free gingerbread houses! 


They certainly won't win any prizes for architectural integrity, but this recipe for gingerbread doesn't change spread in the oven, meaning the biscuits are the same shape going in as out, making for very easy construction.

I made little individual ones for my sister and her boyfriend, and decorated them with white chocolate, royal icing (which DOES contain egg, but you can use melted chocolate or glacé icing instead if you have an egg allergy), jelly beans, pecan nuts, and Smarties.


The biscuit itself is very tasty, but I have a lot to learn when it comes to constructing a house out of it.


I drew up my own templates, which was basically one 3 by 5 inch (7½ by 13 centimetre) rectangle, one 4 by 6 inch (10 by 15 centimetre) rectangle, and one 3 inch (7½ centimetre) square with a 2 inch (5 centimetre) triangular hat on. I cut two of each shape for the houses, but there are literally hundreds of templates available on Pinterest for you to have a perusal through!

FREE FROM
☑ Soya (check for soya lecithin)
☑ Yeast
☑ Wheat
☑ Eggs

CONTAINS
☒ Gluten
☒ Refined sugar products
☒ Dairy
  
INGREDIMENTS
For 2 houses (according to my measurements)

  • 2 ounces brown sugar
  • 1 ounce golden syrup or treacle
  • 4 ounces butter or margarine for a dairy free version
  • 8 ounces white spelt flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Water, to bind

To decorate
  • Royal icing, or glacé icing or melted chocolate if you have an egg allergy
  • Melted chocolate
  • Sweets
  • Nuts, or not if you have a nut allergy


METHOD
  • Preheat the oven to 180°c (350°F/Gas Mk. 4); line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper, or grease lightly with butter or margarine.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the butter or margarine until soft and creamy with a wooden spoon. Mix in the syrup (or treacle) and the sugar and beat again until smooth.
  • Sieve in the flour and spices, then mix with the spoon again until fully mixed, but crumbly.
  • Add the water a teaspoon at a time until a soft dough is formed. Work briefly with your hands until it is smooth.
  • Dust the work surface with flour, dust the rolling pin also, then roll to a thickness of a quarter inch (5 millimetres). Using the template and a sharp knife, cut out two of each piece. If you like, you can cut out a door from one gable piece, and windows from the side walls.
  • Lie on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until very pale golden around the edges. These biscuits won't brown much, and they will still be soft when removed from the oven.
  • Allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, before moving to a wire rack to cool completely before assembly.


There are countless videos on YouTube and countless blogs about how to construct a gingerbread house, and as my knowledge of gingerbread house construction is rudimentary at best, but this video is fairly good at showing how to construct a little one. I fused my houses together with royal icing, because it sets rock hard, but as I mentioned earlier melted chocolate works as well, but it will need support (from jars, tins, mugs, spice bottles etc.) for longer, as chocolate is runnier than royal icing.


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