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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Gingerbread Houses, Tea & Teachers Gifts

written by: bel

I have done my Teacher Gifts!  Feeling organised - a little early yes but i know i just wont have the time in December so better early than not at all.

Thank you to the lovely people at Nature's Cuppa for sponsoring this post and sending me some Organic Tea's to try and include with my gifts. 

Before you jump to it, this wasn't as easy as i hoped.  I've made many a Gingerbread House and iced cookies but i found these so much more fiddlier and it took a lot more time than usual. I also had a complete disaster with icing just not setting on a really humid day, which i eventually gave up on and started from scratch the next day (sometimes that's just easier).   Make sure your measurements are right and if you can find mugs with straight sides not slightly angled like mine (the houses will sit so much better).

Firstly make yourself a cup of tea!   I started with the Organic Ceylon loose leaf for Teapots. Its recommended for breakfast and "kick-starting the day" yep its full bodied and flavoursome.

You need your gift Mugs and Templates.  Wide rimmed mugs are good and straight sided ones will support your house.  I bought these ones ages ago they're not the best for this but i loved them so.
Take measurements of your mug and design your templates. Keep in mind the depth and width of the doorways where you house will sit on the mug. Also remember to make the roof length long enough to cover and slightly go over your house once built.

Then you are ready to mix your batch of Gingerbread.     You’ll need another Tea! I tried the  the Organic Chai from Natures Cuppa. Not usually the one i choose but i opened the box and the cinnamon, ginger and  fragrant spices jumped out and smacked me in the face so its a good one to pep you up ready for hours of work on a Gingerbread house.

250g butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup golden syrup
2 egg yolks (keep the whites for your icing)
5 cups plain flour, sifted
2 tsp bicarb of soda
1 tbs ground ginger
1 tbs ground mixed spice

Lay your templates and cut them with a ruler and knife making sure they are cut straight.
Put your Trays in the fridge for a few minutes it reduces the spreading of the dough in cooking.
Make extras just in case.  I needed four houses - I made gingerbread for eight houses, built six and broke one so not too bad.  If you’re like me it gives you something to nibble on.

While these are baking whip up your icing.
I use this icing but there is plenty of others around.

2 Egg Whites (left over from my gingerbread)
1Tsp Liquid Glucose
3 Cups pure icing sugar

Before you start icing make sure you have everything you need and your house pieces are completely cool.  Check your end pieces haven’t spread too much during cooking and can still fit on the mug. You might be able to trim them down slightly with a knife if you need to.

Another cup of Tea?  How about Nature's Cuppa Earl Grey?  This has a strong flavour and i don't know if it was me but it smelt a little citrussy ?  

I constructed mine by starting with one side and the two ends. Propping them up with the baking paper/wrap roll boxes. Leave to dry and then I attached the other side. 

Once it was dry i turned them on side and decorated it and then when dried turned them over and did the other side.

Same applies for the back and front. Turn on one end and back on the other once dry.

The roof goes on last. 

Then you can add your little finishing touches little glitter sprinkles on the roof. Which you have to do whilst its wet of course so have them ready.

The only other thing i did was a candy heart on the front.

Leave them all to dry completely and have a cup of tea.  This time Peppermint! my favourite tea and Natures Cuppa did not fail to deliver here.  I'll be buying this one from now on for sure.

Whilst they are drying I did up my tea parcels.

Two of Each Flavour:  Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Ceylon, Peppermint, Green & Chai. 
I wrapped them in seal-able plastic bags to keep them fresh.

Put the tea in the mugs attach the little house and a note saying Merry Christmas and Thanks to you TEAcher and you're done.  I wrapped all mine in clear cellophane bought in rolls from my local cheap shop.  

If you do give it a go please let me know I'd love to know how you went. 
I did these over a couple of nights, after the kids went to bed.  It took me around five hours from template to wrapping.  

Good Luck.

Natures Cuppa

Nature's Cuppa is certified organic by the National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA) and NOP (USDA) Regulation certified by Control Union Certification.

Nature's Cuppa tea is certified Fairtrade®. Fairtrade® means better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fairer terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.

I really enjoyed these teas, my favourites being the Peppermint and the English Breakfast. I was also pretty impressed with the Chai.  It is one i usually pass on but i have enjoyed more than one cup of this tea, I will probably buy this one.

Natures Cuppa teas are pretty readily available in your regular supermarkets. You can also buy online.   



  1. That is a great idea! Each year I make gingerbread houses for our teachers and friends. And then I do a gingerbread man or tree for each child in the boys' classes. It is getting pretty hard to keep up now (having 2 in full time school, and one in pre school) and one still to go to school... eeeek.

    I do love decorating the houses though, with enough lollies to give you diabetes!

    1. thanks. wow your much keener than i am! Yes i love making them too. i have eaten so much gingerbread this week i'm allready kinda over it

  2. Oh my goodness.....you are one VERY clever lady! I love all these creative ideas you have been making in the kitchen!! What a lovely idea for a teacher's gift :)

  3. This year I am certainly going to do gingerbread houses from scratch with the children, I normally cheat and get a kit! I am stealing your recipe :)

    1. i do both! :) not eating the lollies is the problem
      steal away :)

  4. I am not a huge fan of sweets, so i never really learned how to make any. My poor husband just got used to it :)
    So i am always very impressed when someone pulls off something so complicated.

    The last time i had a little house like that for desert was on my 7th birthday on top of a handmade birthday cake and remembering how much i loved the look of it makes me thing that it is a good time to learn how to make one for my little daughter.

    1. thanks for visiting. i dont know how old you are but your 7th bday! must have been a very special cake :)
      the sweet stuff is usually not in my house long enough for me to eat - some little (or not so little) fingers have usually scoffed it already.

  5. This looks fabulous! What a wonderful gift idea! Waiting for my oven to be back in action but will definitely give this a go! Now, for that cup of tea... ;)
    Found you via Documenting Delight on Fb!


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