I first saw these ACTUALLY AWESOME tiny gingerbread houses that perch on the side of a mug over on Not Martha, where the ACTUALLY AWESOME Megan took the time to experiment with sizes until she had the perfect biscuity cottage. So a huge thank you to her for, well, being ACTUALLY AWESOME. Three cheers. Anyway, I couldn't resist giving them a go. THIS IS MY STORY...
Drum roll, please: it turns out they're not difficult to make! We can all do it! Yes, you too, Butter Fingers! And you, Clumsatron 3000!
I've adapted the gingerbread recipe from one in Rachel Allen's excellent book, Bake, playing about with the quantities slightly. I've also made you a handy template, inexplicably coloured in with a bright pink pencil, which you should print now. Cut out the individual parts of the house and don't lose them. Especially the chimney. No, OF COURSE I didn't lose mine. *cough*
|Download the template! It's pink!|
Gingerbread Mug Houses (makes about 20 tiny houses, with some dough left over for biscuits)
- 150g unsalted butter
- 112g golden syrup
- 63g golden caster sugar
- 63g dark muscovado sugar
- 362g plain flour
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2tsp ground ginger
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 225g royal icing sugar (I couldn't be bothered making royal icing from scratch - LAZY SLUT ALERT - but you can if you want)
- 38ml cold water
- Cake and biscuit decorations - sprinkles, balls, mini marshmallows, glitter, EVERYTHING. Liberace in drag is the look we're going for here.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
- Melt the butter, syrup, caster sugar and muscovado sugar in a large pan over a low heat.
- Sift the flour, bicarb of soda, ginger and cinnamon into a bowl, and add the melted butter/sugar mixture. Stir well until you have a firmish dough. Don't be afraid to stick your mitts in there to get it all really jumbled together.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough out to about 2cm thick. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for an hour.
- Cut parchment to fit two baking trays. Lay out on the work surface and flour the parchment pieces. On these, roll out your chilled dough to about 3mm thick (you won't need all the dough just now - we're going to do these in batches). Start cutting out your gingerbread house pieces using your not-lost templates. I used a small paring knife; find what works for you! Don't do the chimneys yet. I REPEAT: don't do the chimneys yet. Grave things will happen if you do.
- Once you've cut out everything, get rid of all the trimmings, leaving you with something akin to this (except with more bits on it, obviously).
- Roll out the trimmings to about 6mm thick, and cut out your chimneys.
- Pop both trays in the fridge for a further 15 minutes.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
- Slip the parchment sheets on to a wire rack to cool. In the meantime, mix up the royal icing by combining the royal icing sugar and water and beating (with a mixer or by hand) until it forms soft peaks.
- Start the assembly line! No photos here (you try taking a photo while one-handedly building a house!). I found it easiest to coat the edges of the wall pieces with icing, then stick down on to a gable end laid on a work surface. Then add another gable end, leave to dry for a while, turn the houses upright and add the roof pieces. Don't worry about the icing running a bit; it just looks like snow!
- Once the houses have set solid, start decorating! Smear a layer of royal icing all across the roof, and chuck all the decorations you have at it. At least, that's what I did. You could be more dainty, if you like.
- Repeat until your entire batch is done.
- Arrange on the rims of your best mugs. Admire your handiwork.
- Eat your handiwork.
- You are amazing.