Forget the premade kit and make this homemade cottage style gingerbread house instead.
For the gingerbread
250g unsalted butter
200g brown sugar
5 tbsp molasses
7 tbsp golden syrup
600g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 tsp ground ginger
2 egg whites
500g icing sugar, plus extra to dust
200g bag flaked almonds
125g pack mini chocolate fingers
generous selection of sweets of your choice, choose your own colour theme
1 mini chocolate roll or a dipped chocolate flake
few edible silver balls
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Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Add the butter, sugar and both syrups to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, mixing each time until melted and smooth. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger into a large bowl, then stir in the butter mixture to make a stiff dough. If it won’t quite come together, add a tiny splash of water.
Cut out the template (download ontastemade.com). Put a sheet of baking paper on your work surface and roll about one quarter of the dough to the thickness of two $1 coins. Cut out one of the sections, then slide the gingerbread, still on its baking paper, onto a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, re-rolling the trimmings, until you have two side walls, a front and back wall and two roof panels. Any leftover dough can be cut into Christmas trees, if you like.
Pick out the most intact flaked almonds and gently poke them into the roof sections, pointy-end first, to look like roof tiles. Bake all the sections for 12 mins or until firm and just a little darker at the edges. Leave to cool for a few mins to firm up, then trim around the templates again to give clean, sharp edges. Leave to cool completely.
Put the egg whites in a large bowl, sift in the icing sugar, then stir to
make a thick, smooth icing. Spoon into a piping bag with a medium nozzle. Pipe generous snakes of icing along the wall edges, one by one, to join the walls together. Use a small bowl to support the walls from the inside, then allow to dry, ideally for a few hours.
Once dry, remove the supports and fix the roof panels on. The angle is steep so you may need to hold these on firmly for a few mins until the icing starts to dry. I used some cups that happened to be the perfect height to help hold them up. Much easier.. Dry completely, ideally overnight.
When it comes to decorating, I hopped on Pinterest and looked up gingerbread houses and took some ideas from the ones I liked and mashed them together. I went for a simple cottage theme, but you can nuts with candy using the royal icing to stick everything to the house.