You will need: ½ batch of All-Spice Biscuit dough
½ batch of Royal Icing, line consistency, with a small amount coloured beige
Mini gingerbread houses
1. Preheat oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas mark
2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
3. Roll out your biscuit dough chill for 30 minutes, then cut out your panel shapes: 2 x side walls: rectangle W5cm x H3.5cm 2 x roof panels: rectangle W7cm x H4cm 2 x front/back walls, with a triangular elevation and a rectangular slot cut out: W5cm x H3.5cm (triangular elevation to H6cm)
4. Carefully lift each panel onto the lined baking tray. Space each panel apart, as they may spread while cooking.
5. Bake in the hot oven for 20 minutes, then remove the biscuits from the oven, carefully transfer the sheet of greaseproof paper to a cooling rack and let the biscuits cool completely.
6. Meanwhile, prepare your white line icing.
7. Use the white and beige line icings to pipe fun designs on the walls and roof: swirls, dots, stripes, snowflakes or stars work well.
8. It’s time to construct your house. Using your white line icing, pipe a line along the shorter side of each of the side panels, then attach to the front panel and back panel. Let this dry for 10 minutes at room temperature.
9. Once the side panels have dried and the structure seems sturdy, you can add the roof. Pipe a line on the apex of the roof, then add the two roof panels, holding them in place for around 3–4 minutes until they dry. Finally, pipe along the ridge of the roof, for extra strength.
All-Spice Biscuit Dough
Makes approx. 24 biscuits
170g caster sugar
170g salted butter
170g golden syrup
1 large egg
520g plain flour
80g self-raising flour
1½ tsp mixed spice
1. Preheat oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas mark
2. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
2. Put the sugar, butter, golden syrup and egg into a large mixing bowl. Mix with an electric mixer on a low speed for 3 minutes, until there are only small lumps of butter visible, then turn the speed of the mixer up to medium for 1 minute to reduce the size of the butter lumps.
3. Sift both types of flour and the mixed spice into the bowl and mix on a low speed for 1 minute, or until combined, then turn the mixer up to medium speed for 30 seconds, or until the dough clings together and the sides of the bowl are clean.
4. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide into two and squash into even, flat discs. Cover with cling film and chill or use immediately.
5. Roll out the dough to an even thickness between two sheets of greaseproof paper and cut out your biscuit shapes
6. Carefully pick up each biscuit with a palette knife and place onto the lined trays. Space the biscuits out evenly – they will spread a little when baking.
7. Place the trays into the preheated oven and bake for 20–30 minutes (check at 20 minutes).
8. When the biscuits are evenly cooked and just beginning to turn golden brown, remove from the oven and transfer the whole sheet of greaseproof paper to a cooling rack. Do this very carefully, as the biscuits will be fragile and hot! Allow to cool completely before icing.
4 fresh egg whites (medium)
900g icing sugar, sifted
Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl, adding the liquids first – add most of the fresh egg whites to the bowl. Add the icing sugar and whisk for 5 minutes with an electric whisk, or for longer with a wooden spoon. Whisk slowly initially, to avoid clouds of icing sugar! Continue whisking, gradually adding water (or egg white), until you achieve the desired consistency – a smooth, bright white paste, which is the thickness of toothpaste (you may need to use less or more water than the recipe states – go slowly and judge when you’ve reached the correct point).
Creating ‘line’ and ‘flood’ icings
Line icing is the consistency of toothpaste and is used for outlining your biscuits and adding detail. Flood icing is the consistency of custard and used to fill larger areas or sections of the biscuit with a smooth, shiny surface. As a rule, we allocate two-thirds of the royal icing mixture to making flood icing; the otherthird is for line icing. If you are icing biscuits that require more of one type or another, adjust accordingly. Line icing You don’t need to change the consistency of the royal icing recipe for line icing. Simply look at how many colour variations you need and divide up the icing into clean, dry bowls. Flood icing Place the royal icing in a large bowl. Add water, a few drops at a time, stirring constantly, until you have a pourable mixture of the same consistency as custard. Check how many colour variations you need and divide up into clean, dry bowls. Drop a little of the liquid food colouring in at a time using a cocktail stick, stirring intermittently, until you reach the desired shade. You may need to mix in a little extra icing sugar if the liquid colour begins to thin down your line icing.
Recipe from Biscuiteers Book of Iced Gifts, available now from www.biscuiteers.com