For many years I’ve decorated gingerbread houses for Christmas. It started when the children were small, I bought them flat packed from Ikea and decorated them with sweets and icing. I started making them for friends until I was decorating around twenty each December. The aroma of twenty gingerbread houses would permeate through the house.
These days I just make two or three for our family and I still love the smell. These days I buy the kits from Morrisons supermarket, although the houses aren’t quite so decorative (no open windows or chimneys) I think the gingerbread is much nicer to eat and there’s a store very near to us!
My son, being a very mature 26 year old, wanted a Haribo one! I bought the pack of Haribos which seemed to have the smallest chews in them and also a pack of jelly tots…
…I don’t think I could have fitted many more sweets on if I tried!
I prefer a ‘simpler’ style with just icing and a few silver draghees (not sure what they’re called in other countries but they are those little silver balls which break your teeth if you’re not careful!!)
I like the snowy cottage look! The ‘icicles’ on the edge of the roof look very delicate but once they dry they are pretty solid, I used to drive them into Leeds in the boot of the car and I never had any break. The icing loops itself into a nice even curve so long as it is secured at either end. I make royal icing with egg white and a drop of lemon juice, so it holds it’s shape and dries firm.
We always had a family rule that the gingerbread houses couldn’t be eaten until Christmas Eve, in the days when I used Ikea houses I would make lattice windows from icing and the first things the children would do was stick their fingers through the windows! The houses would be slowly demolished over Christmas week. Of course there was one year which has gone down in family lore when the night before I was due to deliver all the houses, Helen (aged about 3 or 4) stuck her fingers through one window in two houses…I was up til about 2am making another two houses! Two friends got a surprise gingerbread house that year as I was determined that Helen wasn’t going to benefit from her vandalism! Happy memories!
So Christmas cakes are made, gingerbread houses decorated, just need to make some mince pies and I’ll be ready for Christmas!