Christmas is a great excuse to over-bake. This year I managed to successfully bake and construct a gingerbread house without dropping it on the floor or having the walls cave in (not as easy as it looks), and covered my christmas tree with iced gingerbread biscuits. 

Making a gingerbread house is fast becoming a Christmas ritual for me. I have had highs and lows, 2013 was the lowest of the low; we christened it 'il centro sociale'(social center) as it was a very un-glamourous disaster of a building with one wall that smashed on the floor while we attempted moving it from the table to the mantlepiece. My 2011 gingerbread house was featured in the University of Leeds Student Newspaper as I was writing articles for them during my final year and I included a step-by-step guide on how to make a simple and very kitsch house. 

Here are most of my past creations:

First attempt, 2009





Through my successes and failures, I have realised that I am definitely not an engineer and it is better to follow a plan thought up by someone else rather than attempting to design a 'house' myself. There are dozens of printout plans available on the internet to choose from. 

One of the best that I've used is the BBC GOOD FOOD's plan from their magazine which was ideal for the house, but not great for tree decorations because they became soft and all dropped off after a few days after being hung on the tree. 

A fantastic tree decoration recipe is Nigella's christmas biscuit one from her Christmas cook book. The biscuits don't puff up while cooking, so the end result is well-defined.


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