Hey baking friends! its been an AGE since I posted a recipe here, but this one is special, so here goes…
It has just been my businesses 7th birthday, and one of my biggest orders of all time, was for almost a thousand of these little gingerbread cottages…and each one has 6 pieces, so this means I have such strong muscle memory when make the cottages now, that it feels almost comforting to make them.
I promise you this is an achievable recipe. The dough will not spread, it doesn’t need chilling before you bake it, and its totally plant based, so there is no danger of sick tummies if little people get involved and start eating straight from the bowl.
The cookie dough is totally versatile too – it can be used for gingerbread shapes, baubles, other types of construction
For the biscuits: (makes enough for at least 2 gingerbread cottages)
- 280 g plain flour (for GF use 2/3 pre-mixed blend, 1/3 ground almonds)
- 140 g solid vegan “butter” e.g. Naturli / Stork block, at room temp
- 140 g muscovado sugar
- 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax seeds, mixed with 4 tbsp hot water)
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp allspice / nutmeg
Mix everything together in a large bowl, or a stand mixer until you have a smooth, brown dough. If making ahead of time, allow to chill wrapped / in Tupperware in the fridge. Keeps for one week in the fridge and one month in the freezer.
To make the template:
On an A4 piece of card, draw out the following:
2 x roof panels measuring 7.5 X 5.5cm (see below, middle)
2 x side panels measuring 6.5 X 3.25 cm (see below, right)
2 x front / back panels measuring 7.5 X 7cm, with slanted points for the roof cut at 3.5cm. Add a front door by cutting freestyle keeping it little to ensure the house doesn’t crack / break.
To cut / make the gingerbread cottage
Preheat your oven to 175C and line a tray or two with parchment. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out evenly to around 0.5cm thick.
Carefully cut around the outline of the cottage pieces using a sharp knife carefully then transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment. Bake for around 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness, until they are a little more brown at the edges.
Allow to cool and then decorate the house pieces using the thinner icing consistency below, in any design you like best. Allow to set overnight (or at least an hour) before assembling the house.
To assemble the cottages:
To assemble, use the thicker icing consistency. Cut a sharp, 3-4mm hole in the end of your piping bag / parchment bag. Using a wiggling motion, pipe a wiggly line along the inside edges and bottom of each gingerbread piece in this order: front, side, and side, back. If your line doesn’t look pretty enough when you stick them together, just scrape off and try again. Gently place and press the pieces into place on your base. Allow to set for a few minutes, then gently wiggle another thick line of icing all around the edge of the cottage foundation, and on the inside edge of one of the roof panels. Gently put the roof in place and allow to rest for at least an hour, ideally overnight before moving / packaging up.
For the royal icing:
Makes enough to ice two houses and at least 5 cookies, depending on the design. Keeps for one week in the fridge.
- 500 – 520 g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp. cornflour
- 1 tsp. xanthan gum
- 100 ml cup aquafaba (drained water from about a tin of chickpeas)
- 1 tbsp. piping gel (optional)
- 1 tsp. glycerine (optional)
- food colours as required, gel or paste ones give an intense colour, but natural fruit powders e.g. spirulina work too.
Combine everything in a large bowl or a stand mixer and mix for around 3-5 minutes, until you have a thick, glossy icing. If needed, spoon in a little more aquafaba or icing sugar to get the right consistency. Store in an airtight container.
Add a little more aquafaba / icing sugar as needed:
- to stick gingerbread house pieces together, aim for a very stiff peak, hard-to-mix consistency
- to pipe clear and sharp lines, aim for a softer icing, that still holds its shape