We didn’t see ourselves spending the run-up to Christmas baking treats for absolutely no-one at all, but this is where we find ourselves at the close of 2020.
Honestly, it felt like we had peaked when the nation became total pros at baking banana bread at the height of the pandemic, because despite being unable to socialise or share them with anyone else, it made us happy.
Yet now, as the festive feels set in, we all want to know how to make gingerbread houses.
We are a never-ending lockdown cliche and what of it?
According to a recent trend report by Lakeland, 57% of 25-to-34-year-olds make or buy a gingerbread house almost as much as the festive stalwart, Christmas cake. In fact, the retailer sold enough baking parchment to make over 13 million bakes this year, which suggests we’re spending a lot of time in the kitchen right now.
Currently, we’re getting our inspo from celebrities like Reese Witherspoon (ultra-mom and all-around wholesome homemaker) and Lauren Conrad who have been filling their feeds with adorable sugar-coated festive scenes – and the dormant baker in us suddenly feels seen.
We also watched Madonna decorating gingerbread houses with her twins, Estere and Stella, wishing we could do the same with our families this Christmas. (Miss you, mum.) But to top it all, the actual Queen has been showing off the gingerbread houses that are made in the Royal kitchens via Twitter, so now we are all over this trend.
This year, DIY gingerbread house kits have been a sell-out success at Waitrose. Aldi is also selling the sweetest little gingerbread house for just £4.99, so you don’t need to be a pro baker to join the fun, this Christmas.
If you do fancy creating something original, take ideas from Kim and Khloe Kardashian who created jaw-dropping snow-capped houses with wreaths in every window. Or Yolanda Hadid, who added a pop of colour to her creation like something out of ELF. We’re also digging Lauren Conrad’s savvy idea to use Graham crackers (kind of like digestive biscuits) instead of baking ginger biscuits.
Here’s A Gingerbread Recipe To Bake Yours From Scratch
Recipe: BBC Good Food
250g unsalted butter
200g dark muscovado sugar
7 tbsp golden syrup
600g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 tsp ground ginger
And to decorate…
200g flaked almonds
2 egg whites
500g icing sugar, plus extra to dust
125g mini chocolate fingers
Generous selection of sweets
1 mini chocolate roll or a dipped chocolate flake
Few edible silver balls
- Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger into a large bowl, then stir in the butter mixture to make a stiff dough.
- Download and cut out a template from the Good Food website. Roll about 1/4 of the dough to the thickness of two £1 coins and put it on a sheet of baking paper. Cut out one of the sections, then slide the gingerbread, still on its baking paper, onto a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, re-rolling the trimmings, until you have two side walls, a front and back wall and two roof panels.
- Use flaked almonds to create the roof tiles. Bake all the sections for 12 mins or until firm and just a little darker at the edges. Leave to cool for a few minutes to firm up, then trim around the templates again to give clean, sharp edges. Leave to cool completely.
- Put the egg whites in a large bowl, sift in the icing sugar, then stir to make a thick, smooth icing. Spoon into a piping bag with a medium nozzle. Pipe generous snakes of icing along the wall edges, one by one, to join the walls together.
- Using the icing, decorate the door frames and on the front of the house with sweets and chocolate.