Remember that gingerbread recipe from last week?
This is what Mini-Kraut and I made with it this last weekend (Hermann the German did also lend a helping hand during the construction phase):
“Die Waldwichtelbahn” or “The Forest Gnome’s Railway”
We have developed a family tradition in recent years of building a gingerbread (or “Lebkuchen” as it is called here in Germany) house/cottage/village on the third weekend in Advent. This year’s version is a little village in the corner of the forest, home to our Christmas gnome, a corner serviced by two railway lines (Mini-Kraut insists that there is always a railway… 🙂 ). It stays standing until Christmas Day (rules are rules – no touching and no nibbling!) when it is then free to be plundered…
Making a gingerbread house is easier than it perhaps looks, you just have to be prepared to do it in stages.
Ours is made over the course of the weekend. We make the dough on Friday afternoon so that it can “infuse” overnight.
Double the quantity of the BEST Gingerbread recipe will make enough for a display on your average size wooden chopping board (as below).
Saturday morning is “shape and bake” (make sure you roll the dough out more thinly for the roofs and more thickly for the walls…).
Once the baked building components have all cooled…
Saturday afternoon is “decorate”: for the “cement” you need 100 g icing sugar to 1 egg white – make double that (i.e. 200 g icing sugar to 2 egg whites) for this quantity of dough – it dries within a couple of hours and sets really hard.
All of the building components are decorated while flat and the sugar decoration is then given time to dry completely before construction work commences.
Saturday evening then sees the start of the construction work: walls first (the walls are left to dry overnight) – and make sure you have a selection of props to hand – my suggestions as per the pic below:
Sunday morning sees the roofs being cemented in place, and then step by step, with time for drying in between, the rest of the features are put or “cemented” in place.
By Sunday evening everything is in its place (but keep the remains of your egg white cement in the fridge overnight until the next day in case of breakages and/or oversights)…
… and then let it snow (= dust with icing sugar) over your landscape on Sunday evening 🙂
(In our version, everything is edible apart from the gnome, his two snowmen and the “Forest Gnome’s Railway” sign…)