The Handbook
The Handbook

Once the home of a cannibal witch, now a festive family masterpiece, the humble gingerbread house is this season’s crafty must-have.

First it was banana bread, now it’s gingerbread houses. It seems the trajectory of 2020 can be analysed according to what type of bake people are working on in their kitchens. The 16th century German tradition of the gingerbread house has stood the test of time, even though we may have swapped gold leaf with chocolate smarties. And let’s not forget the influence of the Brothers Grimm on this delicious biscuity structure.

The unfortunate tale of Hansel and Gretel sees the pair of children abandoned in a forest by their parents and left to fend for themselves. They stumble across a bloodthirsty witch in a house made of gingerbread and sweets who chucks Hansel in a cage to plump him up for eating and makes Gretel her slave. The children manage to escape and burn the witch alive, and return home with oodles of treasure only to find their mother has died. Cheery. Maybe leave the story for another time, and just try these DIY gingerbread house kits instead.

Biscuiteers DIY Gingerbread House Kit

The Biscuiteers have to be the top of your list. The connoisseurs in biscuit making have made gingerbread architecture easy with their do-it-yourself box. Minimum effort, maximum enjoyment is the key recipe here as the twice-baked English-style biscuits come ready made. The Biscuiteers note that the texture is “somewhere between the snap of a gingerbread and the crumble of a shortbread” with a delicious mix of sweet and fragrant spices to boot. Plus, wherever possible, they use naturally derived colours for decoration. We’re sold.

Price: £35.00
Website: www.biscuiteers.com

You know you're going to put on at least a stone this season, so you might as well start bulking up now.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Christmas Cottage Kit 

Goodbye gingerbread houses, hello Cadbury chocolate cottages. What a brilliant idea to use milky bars instead of biscuits; less hours in the kitchen and way more calories. You know you’re going to put on at least a stone this season, so you might as well start bulking up now. Melt the chocolate and stick all the pieces together – Dairy Milk Bars, a Dairy Milk Winter Bar, the new Dairy Milk Gingerbread bar, and plenty of white buttons for decoration. It’s actually making us feel a little bit sick thinking about it.

Price: £16.00
Website: www.cadburygiftsdirect.co.uk

Tesco Gingerbread Tower Bridge

Oooh. Feel like pushing the boat out do you? Finding the traditional four walls a bit easy? This snazzy and seemingly quite complicated gingerbread structure will keep you busy for hours. Actually, the ingredients are pretty simple. All you need to do is buy Tesco’s pre-made gingerbread dough, add some cold water and decorate with icing and gold crisp pearls (those little beads that look like ball bearings). We’ll pay you £100 if it ends up looking exactly like this picture (we won’t).

Website: www.tesco.com

Honeywell Biscuit Co Gingerbread House Kit

Test your baking prowess this festive season and make the biscuits yourself. Honeywell provide the dry ingredients to make the walls and roof and chuck in a template for you to follow. The recipe card makes it fool proof and you can tell your relatives you made it from scratch (sort of). Most importantly, there are enough sweets for you to nibble on during the build.  

Price: £18.00
Website: www.honeywellbakes.com

John Lewis Lego Gingerbread House

If you’re already dreading the endless hours needed to make the Christmas Day feast, fear not. There’s no need to spend any more time in the kitchen than is absolutely necessary. Instead, round up the family and piece together 1,477 bricks of this Lego gingerbread house. Frosted roofs, colourful buttons and candy-cane columns still make an appearance, plus there’s a brick that lights up to make a glowing fireplace. The set also comes with a gingerbread man, woman and little baby. Sweet.

Price: £84.99
Website: www.johnlewis.com

Round up the family and piece together 1,477 bricks of this Lego gingerbread house.

Apparently, Joanna from the Lakeland buying team said it "tasted really good".

Lakeland Gluten-Free Gingerbread House Kit

You don’t want anyone to miss out on the fun – so here’s a recipe that will keep everyone happy. The dry ingredients come packaged up for you, you then just need to add butter, syrup and water to the mix and… ta da! A gluten-free masterpiece. Apparently, Joanna from the Lakeland buying team said it “tasted really good”. Thanks for the heads-up Joanna. It also comes with a piping tube for Bake Off levels of precision.

Price: £7.99
Website: www.lakeland.co.uk

Paperchase Light-Up Gingerbread House

Whoever replaces a real gingerbread house with this paper version is as heartless as the bloodthirsty witch. In fact, worse. Even the witch liked gingery biscuits – she lived in them. Replacing cooking and all the fun that comes with it (licking the bowl, eating icing, feeling sick from sweets) with paper, is like sending someone a paper advent calendar. It’s just not Christmas. Don’t do it. Why did we even put this one on this list?

Price: £7.00
Website: www.paperchase.com

Whoever replaces a real gingerbread house with this paper version is as heartless as the bloodthirsty witch.

Joules Magic Castle Gingerbread Kit

We see your house, and raise you a castle.  Let’s be honest, the picture looks a bit underwhelming for a fort, but the fancy turrets, gingerbread people and snowy caps make it just about worth our while. Plus, it’s easy to make – all you need to do is add an egg and they’ve provided baked-in lines on the biscuits to show you where to decorate. It’s no Balmoral, but it tastes good.

Price: £9.00
Website: www.joules.com


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