This weekend Michael and I made a Christmas present for our minister, Alistair. Alistair has young children and so we decided that a gingerbread house would be a splendid gift for him and his family. Of course, we can never do anything the easy and simple way so we decided to embark on making a chapel out of gingerbread. It was really great fun and not that much more difficult to cut out and assemble than a regular gingerbread house.
Making and cutting out the gingerbread chapel
Firstly, Mike and I made the gingerbread. We used the recipe that features in Book 1: Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream berries story and cookbook. The video of me making gingerbread using this recipe is as follows:
Once the gingerbread dough was made and was chilling in the refrigerator for an hour, we measured and drew the pieces for the gingerbread chapel onto wax paper. We rolled out the hardened gingerbread dough and baked the gingerbread as sheets on baking trays. I then placed the wax paper pieces on the slightly cooled gingerbread sheets and cut them out using a sharp knife. I find it works much better to cut out the gingerbread pieces after baking as then they keep the form of each piece perfectly and it is much easier to assemble the house.
While the pieces of the gingerbread chapel were cooling and hardening, Mike and I made the royal icing to “glue” our chapel together.
Making royal icing
Mike and I made the royal icing using the recipe that features in Book 1: Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream berries story and cookbook. The video of me making royal icing using this recipe is set out below:
Making the stained glass windows
We made the stained glass windows using boiled fruit flavoured sweets that I melted on a piece of wax paper in the over at a very high temperature (240 degrees celcius). I placed the gingerbread chapel sides, front and back on sheets of wax paper and then I poured the melted sweets into the window holes. I left these to set for approximately 30 minutes. Be very careful when you do this as the sweet mixture gets very hot and can burn you badly if you spill it on yourself.
Assembling the gingerbread chapel
Once the gingerbread pieces had cooled and hardened and the royal icing was made we could start assembling our gingerbread chapel. Firstly, I attached the front, back and two side panels to the cake board using royal icing. I used cups to hold the pieces in place while the royal icing dried and hardened. I then assembled the bell tower in the same way. I attached the bell tower to the front of the chapel using more royal icing. I then left the whole framework, supported by cups, to dry overnight.
The following morning, I attached the roof panels to the walls and left them to dry using cups to keep them in place. My gingerbread chapels was now complete and ready for decorating.
The final product
You can decorate your gingerbread chapel anyhow you like. I used jelly beans for the detail along the royal icing joins to give the chapel some colour. I used milk chocolate buttons to decorate the roof and white and milk chocolate buttons to decorate the bell tower. I added windowsills made from KitKat chocolates, cut to size. I made the ivy but cutting out multi-coloured green and white fondant and wiring them together using florists wire. I used Marie biscuits for the stepping stones and royal icing and mint sprinkles for the grass. I added some fondant mice just for fun.
Sir Chocolate and the trolls
Sir Chocolate and the trolls helped with the building. see them rolling up their ropes on completion of the job in the picture below:
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