One of the easiest ways to entertain the children this Christmas is by decorating a gingerbread house. Once completed a nightlight candle can be lit and placed inside the house, it makes a brilliant centerpiece for Christmas.

Makes 1 house and enough for 12 gingerbread men

First the fun of designing the house. Get everyone involved and the member of the family to come up with the best, and most stable design, will have their house built. Its best to make a mock up of the design in card before confirming the stencils as that way your house is more likely to stand.

Once the house has been constructed, start decorating.

gingerbread-house-large

Ingredients
Tracing paper and card for the design and stencil
750g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
2tsp ground ginger
2tsp ground cinnamon
½tsp ground allspice
225g butter
½tsp salt
115g light soft brown sugar
350g black treacle

500g Royal Icing mixture / homemade Royal Icing

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°c. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices together into a large bowl. Over a gentle heat, mix the butter, salt, sugar and treacle together until smooth; add to the bowl and mix to a dough. On a floured surface, roll out to 5mm thick. Using the templates, cut a door out of the front wall.
Space out on lined baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are darker brown than the centre. Cool for 5 minutes, and move to a wire rack.
Add 3-4 tbsp cold water to the icing mix and whip with an electric whisk for 8 minutes, until peaks form. Transfer half to a piping bag with a small nozzle and use it to stick the 4 walls of the house together. If you can find disposable piping bags these are good to use. Stand the house on a plate and use cans of baked beans or similar to prop the walls up until the icing dries. Pipe more icing along the top of the 4 walls, stick on the roof and leave to dry. Stick the door on. Put the remaining icing in a new piping bag with a fine nozzle and let the children go wild.

Cox & Cox Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter (pictured)
A fairytale house that’s good enough to eat! Simply make your dough with the recipe that’s included, then use the seven metal cutters to create the roof, walls, windows, chimney and tree. £15. P&P £5.95.

Order online at www.coxandcox.co.uk or by calling 0844 858 0744