Edible Gluten Free Christmas Table Decorations: Part 2 Gingerbread House

gingerbread house 1

After last week’s success with my very first edible Christmas table decoration – a gluten free shortbread star Christmas tree – I was all pumped up to have a bash at the next feat… A gloriously rustic and very Christmasy looking gingerbread house! Gluten free and additive free, of course. Well, dear readers, it turns out, this one is just as spectacular when all finished, and just as much fun to make. My kids particularly enjoyed this one, so let’s get stuck into how you can make your own. Yes! If we can do it, so can you!

Gluten Free Gingerbread House

For this creation, we used a gingerbread biscuit recipe. You can click here to see the recipe. Again, going on my tips from the Gluten Free Shortbread Star Christmas Tree blog, to make this recipe gluten free, be sure to measure your gluten free flour in grams, and add xanthan gum if using a homemade flour mix.  For our gingerbread house, we used Orgran gluten free plain flour, but didn’t add any xanthan gum as the Orgran flour mix already contains xanthan gum.

sticky gingerbread doughkneaded gingerbread dough

To make your gingerbread house Christmas table centerpiece, you start by simply following the gingerbread biscuit recipe. When making the gingerbread dough, be prepared to get sticky and floury (and try not to eat too much as you knead and roll and cut your shapes ☺)!

rolled gingerbread dough cut out gingerbread

To cut the walls and roof for your house, you will need templates. To make it easy for you, I’ve made up a few templates ready for you to print, cut out and use. Click here to download them. Remember you will need 2 of each shape so print two lots of the templates.

Once you have kneaded your dough on a well-floured bench, roll it out onto baking paper, place the templates on top of the dough with a little space between each one and cut out with a knife or pizza cutter. You might find it easier to place the dough (well wrapped in plastic wrap) in the fridge before rolling and cutting (it makes it a bit easier to work with and cut). Remember to place your house pieces far apart on the tray to allow for spreading as they cook.  We like our gingerbread quite crunchy and hard, so we made them a little thinner (about half a cm thick) and cooked them a little longer to crisp up nicely.

We decided to make only one house, so this left plenty of leftover dough to make tree ornaments and biscuits! The kids made a heap of lovely Christmas ornaments and letters to decorate.

ginger decorations 1ginger decorations 2

Give your gingerbread pieces plenty of time to cool and harden before starting to assemble. Whilst you are waiting, whip up a batch of royal icing. Click here for the icing recipe. We used a double batch, as we wanted to ice the biscuits too.  Make sure your icing mixture is quite thick so it sets well when ‘cementing’ your house together.

Before assembling your house, pipe some icing onto the walls to outline windows and a door and again allow to dry.

Assembling a gingerbread house requires a little patience. Get the kids to help you – it’s a messy job and lots of fun, plus you might need a spare set of hands to hold things together whilst the icing is drying. The longer you leave the icing to dry and set, the more cemented together your house will be.

To assemble your house, you will also need a board on which to place it. Line it with foil before starting.  Using a piping bag, pipe a decent thick line of icing to sit one wall into, then repeat with a joining wall, adding a line of icing along the wall edge (make sure your side walls connect on the outside edge of the front and back walls so your roof will fit!). Hold the two pieces together for a short while until they start to set before moving on to the other two walls. Be liberal with your icing! We blobbed it into all sorts of gaps to seal things off and keep it all stuck together!

Once all four walls are assembled, allow a good amount of time for them to fully dry and set. Then comes the slightly tricky bit… the roof. The templates provided allow for a slight overhang on the roof, so you will have to hold it in place until the icing dries to stop it slipping. Do one roof piece at a time and again fill the gaps with icing.  We used a glass on each side to hold up the roof for a few minutes as we had a slight roof collapse before realising we had forgotten to put the side walls on the outside edge!  Oops! My other tip – try not to assemble your gingerbread house on a day that’s above 40 degrees celsius!

gingerbread house 2gingerbread house 3

Once it’s all put together, the fun bit starts with the decorating. And the options are again endless! Use the icing to stick on any type of lollies, icing sugar or coconut to make your house unique and colourful. Why not add a pathway, make some flowers or a snowman in the front yard? Again, be sure to stick with additive free and gluten free lollies to keep your gingerbread house free of all nasties and edible for all. Here’s a few ideas for decorations…

  • Organic Times Gems (similar to small smarties or m&ms to make roofing tiles or flowers, door knobs or anything else your imagination can create!
  • White musk sticks (you can get them here) for the house edges
  • Yummy Earth gummy bears, sour worms or pomegranate lollies
  • Hoppers Christmas coloured 100s & 1000s
  • Shaved organic gluten free chocolate
  • White marshmallows (makes a great snowman!)
  • June organic liquorice (NB: this is not gluten free)
  • Desiccated coconut (plain or coloured) *be sure it’s preservative free

We stayed with organic gluten free lollies, but at a pinch, you could try the Natural Confectionery Company’s range to at least avoid some of the nasties. I find my kids react to these lollies, hence we stick to the organic range mentioned above.

For more natural or lolly free decorations, why not try some fresh herbs from the garden (we used mint and sage in flower, you could also use rosemary – makes a great miniature tree), goji berries, seeds (sunflower or pepitas), nuts  or use small wooden Christmas tree ornaments and ribbon to add colour and Christmas spirit.  You can even fill the inside of the house with lollies, small gifts or small Christmas tree ornaments so when little hands break open the house to taste the yummy gluten free gingerbread, there’s a treat inside as a surprise!

Now I have to admit, we had two attempts at making a gingerbread house.   Attempt one was not quite as successful thanks to the  sporadic weather we had at the time.  Our second effort was much better and although the end result is a little less than perfect… we have, in our eyes, an awesomely unique creation ready to display on our Christmas table, complete with stories on how our first attempt’s construction was rather precarious! However, as mentioned in our Shortbread Star Christmas Tree table decoration blog, we are actually away for Christmas this year, which means we are very much looking forward to demolishing these yummy masterpieces before we leave (otherwise the cats will no doubts help themselves)! And because we made them both gluten and additive free (mostly with organic ingredients) our homemade centerpieces will ensure we have no nasty side effects to deal with before beginning our family festive celebrations. Phew!

ginger decorations

And thanks to our leftover dough, we have a few yummy ornaments to adorn our tree with too – how great do they look? If you’re not up for the whole house creation, these are a very easy and fun alternative for the kids to make with you. Either way you have yummy edible Christmas treats and a great activity to enjoy with your kids in the kitchen, not to mention a house smelling fabulously Christmassy with all the ginger and spices wafting around!

Please be sure to send us some photos of your wonderful Christmas Gingerbread houses or ornaments by visiting The Food Werewolf Facebook page so we can all marvel at your creative efforts! Click here to visit our Facebook page.

Happy gingerbread baking!

Loren x
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