How to Make a Gingerbread Christmas Village
Gingerbread houses are something which can be made at home, and perfect at Christmas time. A gingerbread village with houses, a church, snow and people make a spectacular model made of all things sweet. A Hansel and Gretel story of a house made of candy can be made real, with gingerbread, sweets, marshmallows and snowy icing.
I Want to Make a Gingerbread Village
You can buy kits to make gingerbread houses, but I personally did it myself. The gingerbread itself is really easy to make, but putting the buildings together can be rather fiddly. However, on my first attempt, I didn’t do too badly. Here is how it is done.
For the Gingerbread
- 600g plain flour
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 4 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 250g unsalted butter
- 350g light brown sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 6 tbsp golden syrup
- Royal icing
- Sweets of your choice, i.e chocolate buttons, marshmallows, haribo etc
Place the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon together in a bowl. Rub in the butter lightly until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. Next add the eggs and syrup. Combine the mixture until it becomes soft dough.
Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
Roll out the dough and cut into the shapes of your choice, and bake in the oven at 180 degrees for around 10 minutes.
How to Make the Houses
Using card, draw out a template of the sides of the house, roof and front and back. Do the same for the church but make it taller. You can make the houses slightly different sizes if you want bungalows.
Label your card with ‘front’ ‘back’ ‘sides’ and ‘roof’, and label for different buildings.
Next roll out your gingerbread dough and dust the work surface with flour. Dust the rolling pin if the dough is a little sticky.
Using your card templates, place them on the dough and cut around using a sharp knife.
Place grease proof paper on a baking sheet and grease with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
Put the shapes on the tray and bake for around 10 minutes.
When they are done, place on a wire rack to cool.
Making the Royal Icing
Separate 4 egg whites and place them in a bowl. Begin to whisk using an electric whisk and gradually sift in icing sugar. Keep adding until the mixture is firm and peaks. Add more sifted icing sugar if you want it firmer.
Building Your Village
This is where it can get a little messy! You may find that your shapes will not be perfect, but you can always fill in the gaps with the royal icing.
You will need a board where you will keep your village (I covered mine in silver tin foil) and heavy objects to hold the walls together until it sets. I used glass bottles.
Get the right pieces together and put royal icing around the edges. Use either a piping bag or a spoon.
It will get messy, but this will look like snow on your houses.
Hold the walls together with your heavy objects until it sets. Then stick on the roof using the same method.
Once your houses are dry you can decorate as you please.
Pipe some icing onto the roof to look like snowy tiles. Use writing icing to make windows and doors and stick on marshmallow chimneys.
Decorate with sweets by sticking them on with royal icing and dust some icing sugar over your village through a sieve.
Once you have completed your village, add lights, people, trees or a lake. Make as many houses and buildings as you can (as long as you have the room!).