Mini Gingerbread Houses

What a better way to make someones day than to give them one of these wonderful little gems sitting on the side of an Options Management hot drink from one of our wide array of vending machines

Makes approx. 6-8 houses

1kg plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
300g cold butter, diced
2 tbsp mixed spice
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
450g light soft brown sugar
3 large eggs
225g golden syrup
300g royal icing sugar

1. Put about half the flour in a food processor with the butter and whizz until you can’t see any lumps of butter remaining. Mix the remaining flour, spices and bicarb together with a pinch of salt. Tip both the floury mixtures into your largest mixing bowl and stir in the sugar. (If you don’t have a food processor, rub the butter into all of the flour until it resembles fine crumbs. Then stir in the spices, bicarb and sugar.) Whisk the eggs with the golden syrup and stir into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon. Using your hands, knead together into a smooth dough.

2. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Roll a quarter of the dough out at a time on a sheet of baking parchment, to the thickness of 2 x £1 coins. Cut the templates from the downloadable PDF file then use a small, sharp knife to cut around the house templates, but remember that each time you’ll need 2 x A, 2 x B and 2 x C for one house. Remove trimmings and lift the gingerbread, on its parchment, onto baking trays. Re-roll trimmings to cut out all the shapes you need.

3. Bake the gingerbread one tray at a time on a high shelf in the oven for 8-10 mins, until a lovely, rich brown and firm to the touch. As soon as each tray is baked, carefully sit the templates back onto the relevant shapes and trim any edges to neaten. Cut out a door on the front and back pieces with a small, sharp knife. Let all the biscuits cool.

4. Sieve the royal icing sugar into a bowl and stir in dribbles of water until you have a stiff icing and put into a piping bag. Snip the tiniest bit off the corner and pipe any icing decorations you want onto the gingerbread. Leave to dry.

5. Arrange the walls and front/back of house biscuits as you are going to assemble them, then pipe icing along the side edges and stick the pieces together. Pipe extra icing where the walls join each other on the inside of the house. Leave for a few hrs until set.

6. Once dry, stick on the roofs, as above – you may need to hold the biscuits on firmly for a few mins until the icing starts to set. Set overnight, then use any remaining royal icing to help you decorate your houses with sweets and sprinkles.