125g butter, chopped, softened
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup golden syrup
1 free-range egg yolk
2¼ cups plain flour
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 free-range egg whites
2½ cups pure icing sugar
1–3 tsp lemon juice
1. Line 2 large oven trays with baking paper. Put butter and brown sugar into a large bowl. Beat with electric hand mixer on high for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the syrup and egg yolk and then beat until they are combined.
2. Sift in flour, ginger, mixed spice and bicarb. Stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Form into a ball, flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 15 minutes.
3. Roll out dough between 2 sheets of baking paper to form a rough rectangle, 5mm thick. Return to fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
4. Cut 15 squares 7 x 7cm from dough, rerolling and chilling as necessary. Arrange dough squares, 2cm apart, on prepared trays. Chill for 30 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 160ºC fan-forced (180ºC conventional). Bake dough squares for 12–14 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside on trays to cool completely.
6. To make icing, put egg whites in medium bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until they start to froth. Sift icing sugar onto sheet of baking paper. Add icing sugar to egg whites, 1 Tbsp at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. Add enough lemon juice to thin icing to desired consistency. Icing should be thick and smooth.
7. Spoon icing into a disposable piping bag fitted with a 1-2mm round piping tip. Icing should hold its shape when piped.
8. Working on a clean dry surface, carefully pipe windows on 2 gingerbread squares for each ‘house’. Set aside until icing has set firmly.
9. Lay an undecorated gingerbread square on clean dry surface. Put 2 decorated squares on top, standing on their sides to create a triangular tent shape. Carefully pipe icing along all joins to secure pieces together.
10. Repeat with remaining gingerbread squares and icing to make 5 houses. Set aside, uncovered, for 1-2 hours or until icing has set firmly.
11. Using leftover icing, carefully pipe drops along peak of ‘roof’ to create a fallen snow effect.