Guest Post by Deyvid Dimitrov
I already bought my plane ticket back home for the holidays, wearing a sweater, drinking hot ginger tea, and listening to Christmas music, I am fully ready for the festivities to begin. I was wondering how should I mark the beginning of this magical time of the year, and what better way than printing out a recipe for a Gingerbread house, and attempting to make one from scratch? Forget about those boxes retailers sell around this time, we are making the cookie dough, the templates for cutting, we are putting everything together, decorating the house, and having an existential crisis in between. Let our Christmas cooking festivities begin.
First step – doing the shopping. In all honesty, growing up I used to cook sweets and cookies with my grandma, but never have I tried doing any of it on my own, so this felt like a solid challenge I was not mentally prepared for.
To spare myself the disappointment I bought ready to use cupcake icing so I did not have to make that, everything else in the recipe is homemade.
Following the first steps in the recipe, I melted the butter, sugar and the syrup in a pan, mixed the flour with ground ginger and a tiny bit of bicarbonate soda (which I later regretted), and then mixed the two together forming a nice dough. I switched on the oven to preheat it, while cutting out the templates and the dough, placed it on a tray and then I put it in the oven for about 10 minutes, until it looked brown and delicious. Here I changed the recipe a little bit, I decided to add chocolate buttons with glazing into the roof, instead of almonds and I do not regret my decision a single bit (writing this while eating the roof and it is the nicest, crispiest thing on earth).
Once you have taken out the cookies and they look nice and delicious, leave them to cool down for a bit, then place them back on the templates and cut around the edges, making sure those crisp edges are in tact. This is the point where I reveal why I regret adding soda, the entire cookies raised up quite a bit which made them thicker than I wish they were, so I grabbed a knife and I tried slicing off some bits making the cookies flatter and nicer to look at. If you decide to follow this step, just be careful you do not break them or make them too thin, as they still have to be able to carry the weight, especially the walls of your house, they need to carry the roof which is extremely steep and heavy.
Put generous amounts of glazing on the walls and carefully push them together and hold them for about 30 seconds before releasing to ensure they are fully touching and there is enough glazing to cover any shape irregularities on the cookies. I was being so generous with the icing it ended up on the floor, but YOLO, Christmas cooking is only once a year and lasts about 20 days… Leave the walls to become friends and sing some Christmas songs in the meantime, they will need about 4 hours to be fully ready to carry your poorly shaped, heavy roof.
Once you return you can remove the bowl or glass you had placed in the middle to keep the walls of your house in tact (or if you decided to be adventurous like me, you forgot to read that part but it still worked out fine). Now it’s time to sweat and pray to every force on Earth that your structure will survive what’s about to come – your roof panels.
Once you manage to place them and they stay put, leave them to sit for another 6-7 hours so they do not move and you can freely express your creativity and decorate your house with candy and more icing.
Below you will see an image of my complete house. While it looks nothing like the one from BBC Good Food, I am happy with the results, I decided to push my imagination forward and step down on checking Pinterest and other platforms for ”inspiration”. Being experimental and really playing with what you are making is what Christmas cooking is all about.
Overall, I would say this is a great way to spend some quality time with your loved ones but be prepared to spend more time than you thought you would initially.
I think this is a great way to spend some quality time with your loved ones and those who matter to you. I know it was an amazing way for me to step back and slow down. I hope you enjoyed my little project and I would love to see them! If you do so, please tag me in your photos on Instagram @davidoffsal and on Twitter @davidoffsal_
About the Author
I am a London-based micro influencer who has a huge passion for fashion and amazing life style. I love reviewing food, fashion trends and great places to visit in the city. My personal blog is available at www.deyviddimitrov.com and my Instagram is www.instagram.com/davidoffsal