How to Make a Big Mess / Gingerbread Village

I’ve been missing in action for a few weeks I know, tied up with tasks, watching time hurtling at warp speed towards the end of the year.

How did it get so late so soon(Original Photo Creative Commons Battersea Park by kevinsays under CC by 2.0 – text added to original)

This morning however, during the creation of the biggest mess I’ve ever made (for a crafter that’s saying something: craft desk=bombsite comes to mind), I found myself silently writing this blogpost; so I have taken that as my cue to write something, anything, just write.

So what’s my excuse for a bigger mess than my craft desk? A gingerbread village! Last year I bought a gingerbread house kit – yes gingerbread already made, sweets in box, just add icing, easy peasy. Just a little bit boring. I also received this as a pressie last Christmas:

Lakeland Silicone Village mould[Not so] Bright ideas followed this Christmas and a promise to our eldest that we would make gingerbread to decorate for pre-Christmas festivities. I forgot how long you need to make gingerbread, especially with children who want to measure and pour and stir everything themselves, so the mess ended up scattered over two days. Aah well you can’t hurry a masterpiece, can you? I used a recipe from an old ‘Good Food’ magazine, although there are plenty of recipes online, however I think they are mistaken with the skill level set at ‘moderately easy’ and the time required around an hour. Either that or I did something very wrong! We made more gingerbread than Hansel & Gretel could eat in their lifetime and it took three batches of baking which was an hour in itself. The icing was reserved for the next morning thankfully. Unfortunately I used large eggs instead of medium without increasing the amount of icing sugar, so despite knowing the whisk should be able to stand up in it, I made pitifully drippy royal icing. I also didn’t engage my brain and just decided to go ahead anyway, proceeding to drip icing out of both ends of the piping bag, all over the table, floor, my hands, my socks, the gingerbread pieces, and the glasses used to optimistically prop up the gingerbread pieces. Just as I was thinking ‘you don’t see this on The Great British Bake Off’, my husband declared it a masterclass, and my children – who were very carefully and delicately piping icing from tiny plastic tubes onto their gingerbread shapes – informed me I was ‘making a right mess!’. Finally the penny dropped and I emptied out the piping bag and added another several hundred grams of icing sugar to bring my royal icing up to Mary Berry standard, well, just not dripping anyway. By now we were deep in clouds of icing sugar, settling like a dusting of snow on the dark kitchen floor, but I was making haste with the gingerbread village and basking in my victory. Okay, it’s no show-stopper but the boys think it’s amazing and that’s good enough for me!

Stage 1 - I wasn't joking about the icing

Stage 1 – I wasn’t joking about the icing

Stage 2 - Good news - I got one to stick together! Bad news - enthusiasm waning...

Stage 2 – Good news – I got one to stick together! Bad news – enthusiasm waning…

Stage 3 - Thank goodness for that! Just the small matter of cleaning up the mess...

Stage 3 – Thank goodness for that! Just the small matter of cleaning up the mess…

It smells amazing. What a shame nobody’s allowed to eat it. Ha ha. Okay, maybe at Christmas. 2015.


Emma x

2 thoughts on “How to Make a Big Mess / Gingerbread Village

  1. Wonderful effort…they look brilliant…. good enough to eat!……and in case you try again next year and are not aware…they sell Royal Icing sugar in a box in the supermarket………just add water!! 😉 Happy Happy Christmas to you all xx

  2. This is brilliant! Definitely worth all the time and mess – but aren’t the best projects always the messiest? I love your decorations, they look so tasty! I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas! 🙂

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