This is a recipe I have created and used for many years keep the family tradition going! My mum would bake us Gingerbread biscuits and put together a gingerbread house when we were young. I wanted to do this for my children also as it has been great fun icing the biscuits with the children. This recipe is gluten free as my son is on a gluten free recipe but don't let that put you off as it is delicious with lots of spices and carob molasses from Cyprus!
In Finland many recipes are based on volume measurements so don't be confused when I say 100 ml flour or sugar it is just how the recipe was put together. I actually like baking like this as it makes life much easier and quicker!
150 ml carob molasses or treacle or molasses
200ml of unrefined caster sugar
300ml corn flour or Tapioca flour
600ml regular rice flour
2 Tsp Baking soda
250 gr of butter or clarified butter if dairy intolerant
4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tsp ground ginger
2 Tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground Cardamom
1 Tsp Allspice
A little raw egg white!
1 extra cup of sugar
Put the molasses, sugar and butter in a pan and melt to combine.
Sift the flour with the spices in a large bowl and add the molasses mixture and the eggs to the bowl and mix to combine.
Work the mix into a ball than flatten it, wrap in greaseproof paper and than double wrap in cling film or an air-tight wrap. Put in your fridge overnight! This will help to develop the flavour of the dough.
Take the biscuit dough out of the fridge and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. In the meantime clear a table top and have some rice flour ready to sprinkle on the surface for rolling out the dough. You will also need your cutters like gingerbread man and ladies, hearts and animals or whichever shape you wish. If you are making a house with the mix than design and cut the template of the house ready to use to cut out the biscuit dough. This is how I go about doing mine. Each year it turns out slightly different but the main idea is coming up with a design that ties up ie once you start to stick it together you are not left with large gaps in the roof or between roof and the walls! So you may need to get out a ruler and do some maths!
If you are making a gingerbread house roll out your pastry/dough in the baking tray and cut out the house with the templates in the tray that way you will not stretch or break the pastry by lifting it into the tray!
For making biscuits knead the dough to make it soft and pliable, than roll out the pastry/dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Stamp out the shapes you wish to bake. Bake the biscuits in a preheated oven at about 200C for about 8-10 minutes. They may feel a little spongy to the touch initially while hot but should become nice and crisp but slightly moist inside when cold.
You may need to roll-out the house parts slightly thicker and bake at 175 C for about 10-15 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking tray and than put on wire racks to cool.
Make a caramel with the cup of sugar:
Put the extra cup of sugar in a pan and bring to high heat stirring with a wooden spoon as it becomes hot not to produce lumps. Stir till the sugar becomes dark brown in colour and the colour is uniform remove from heat when it comes to a bubble and it is caramel colour. You may wish to dip the base of the pan into cold water to arrest the cooking and sit pan on a heat protected surface.
Use the caramel to stick the house together. You will need to work fast while the caramel is still liquid. Take care not to get any on your skin as it will burn very bad. While sticking the house together hold each part till it is stuck in place and than move on to the next part.
Once you have all the house stuck together and you have your biscuits baked and cooled down make the icing.
Sift the icing sugar in to a bowl and add a little egg white to it a teaspoon at a time and a few drops of lemon juice than mix with a wooden spoon until it is smooth and uniform. You can test the consistency buy drawing a line through the icing and watch the ends meet if it all collapses into a smooth icing immediately it is not right for piping. If this happens add more icing sugar to make it stiffer. Another good way to test is to cover the back of a spoon you want it to just drip with eas but still give the spoon a good coating.
Pop the icing into your chosen piping bag and nozzle and get decorating your biscuits and house. Let it set in a dry room. To finish the house you can decorate the surround with some Christmas figures and sprinkle it with icing sugar for a snow effect.