A Christmas house made out of shortbread

Created on Wednesday, January 9, 2013.
Filed under Physical Objects, Food.
 

You hear a lot about gingerbread houses, but a quick Google search reveals that not many people have made houses out of shortbread, and of those people, only one other has written about it online.

 

You hear a lot about gingerbread houses, but a quick Google search reveals that not many people have made houses out of shortbread, and of those people, only one other has written about it online.

People avoid using shortbread for jobs like this because it is fragile and harder to work with. you’‘ll need to make it thicker and bake it slower to give it the strength it needs. I used my favourite shortbread recipe, rolling the layers about 1cm thick.

Above is the basic framework of the shortbread house. I made a paper template of the pieces and used them to roughly cut the pastry. The pieces were pat down onto the tray to encourage them to spread, then baked slowly to dry them out. Once the pastry was well-baked it was left to cool, then cut again using the template to achieve the final dimensions.

Dimensions of the pieces: 2x 13cm x 19cm rectangles for the roof. 2x 11.5cm x 16cm rectangles for the side walls. 2x 16cm x 19cm rectangles for the front of the house PLUS each trimmed to form a triangular gable on top so that the length of each gable is 11cm.

To cut the triangular gables properly, place a ruler at the top-middle of the template, the move the body of the ruler until the length is 11cm.

Umm to explain this more clearly, you’’ll be taking two equal triangles from opposite sides of the top of the rectangle, and the hypotenuse of each triangle is 11cm long.

I used royal icing to put this thing together because it sets quickly and is quite strong. You can see a bowl of the stuff right there.

I put royal icing along the butt joints, and also along both sides of the walls where they touched the board, and also on both sides of each butt joint. Later I will get rid of the excess royal icing by carving it and the surrounding pastry away with my trusty Opinel to leave a clean, square joint.

I provide a bottle of delicious maple syrup for scale. For those of you not fond of maple syrup, the house is 24cm tall, including the chimney.

The chimney goes on. There is no template for this and I didn’t take measurements for it. I took some extra pastry, made a tall box out of it, then cut a 45 degree angle into the bottom and stuck it on. The roof isn’’t exactly straight, but eh, whatareyagonnado.

Views of the chimney. Notice the roof pieces overlap the ends just a little.

I piped ganache on the top as roof slats, and used royal icing to outline a brick footpath to the door.

I then used royal icing to outline bricks along the bare faces of the house. If you look very carefully, you can pinpoint the exact moment I stopped caring.

I decided to add some cotton wool smoke to the chimney. How it gyres and gimbles in the wabe!

To give the house some color, I stuck some candy canes to the corners. I’ll also make a candy cane fence and candy cane windowsills.

Finished house. Check out my stringwork on the roof and the stringwork curtains (which actually move when you poke them!).

That's all there is, there isn't any more.
© Desi Quintans, 2002 – 2018.