So now Christmas is almost officially upon us, I thought I had better go out of my Christmas themes posts with a bang. This, of course, leads to something that involves far too much thought, concentration, effort etc. in the week before Christmas. It is safe to say that my brain is already completely with anything festive, so I will apologise in advance for any Christmas dong related ‘puns’ that slip in. Fortunately for you I have already dodged the Leona Lewis ‘One More Sleep’ reference and I am not feeling creative or humorous enough to come up with many more. So you are relatively safe. But, you know, ‘All I want for Christmas’ is a chocolate orange gingerbread mountain (yes that’s the best I’ve got).
It’s not really all I want for Christmas, but it certainly is a good start. And it’s safe to say I’m fairly proud of it. It did take some sleepless night, some cardboard replicas and a practice run, but it was certainly worth it for the final thing. I will include the recipe I used even though it isn’t massively different from the original on BBC Good Food (contain your shock). However, it is handy in terms of quantities as I will also include dimensions and rough templates etc. just in case you fancy giving it a go yourself.
I will be honest with you in the sense that I don’t really know what sparked the whole Christmas mountain idea. I have never made a gingerbread house before, so it seemed natural to try and tackle it for a post this year, but this is where my typical mindset to try something slightly different led. Safe to say I’m glad to scrap the first idea of a Christmas cave/ grotto type thing. Since the structure would have been a lot more complicated I think it would have been more Christmas rubble than anything else. However, I do think this is probably a good structure to try if you have never made one before. The pyramid structure is very stable (it even stands by itself) so I’m guessing on the whole it would probably be less traumatic.
There are again a few tips I will add: first is to make sure you re-shape the sides of your mountains as soon as they come out of the oven. They will spread a little bit and if you leave them to cool too much the edges will be rougher and they are more likely to break. However, I would also make sure you give enough time for everything to cool and set properly; I have learnt from experience that rushing things like this can be problematic. Other than that all I can say is good luck! As I mentioned before I will include some rough templates for the mountains, but for the reindeer I just used some cutters from Lakeland. For the Christmas tree I simply took an outline of a star and resized it in 0.5cm intervals, printed them off and used them as templates. I then piped each star biscuit individually and stacked them up, securing it with the icing. The recipe I used included an icing made from egg whites instead of water, but feel free to use a royal icing instead. Either way I hope you enjoy!
Chocolate Orange Christmas Gingerbread Mountain
- 600g plain flour
- 100g cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp ground ginger
- 240g butter, cubed
- 280g soft light brown sugar
- 280g golden syrup
- Zest 2 oranges and approx. 1 tbsp orange juice
For the icing:
- 1 egg white
- 250g icing sugar, plus extra for a basic water icing.
- Preheat your oven to 180C/ 160C Fan/ 350F.
- Put the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, butter and sugar in a mixer and mix until it forms a bread crumb like texture. Then add the orange zest and slowly dribble in the golden syrup. It will then start to form a dough. Add orange juice until the dough becomes more moist and holds together without being sticky. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead to bring it together.
- On top of a sheet of baking paper the size of your tray, roll out the dough until it is about the thickness of a pound. Then use your templates and cutters to make all the shapes you need. You will need three triangles for each mountain (with smaller triangles cut out of one side of the small and large peaks). I also made three reindeers and three stands, and 16 stars for the Christmas tree. You will have some extra dough so use this as you wish (I made extra reindeers as gifts).
- Place all your biscuits onto trays by pulling the baking paper you have used to roll them on over your tray. Bake them in the oven for 15 minutes, turning after 12. While still hot, reshape your pieces if necessary and leave to cool slightly before transferring them to a wire rack.
- Meanwhile make a thick water icing for decoration. Once the cookies are cool, pipe your desired patterns onto them and leave each design to set. While they are setting you can make the egg white icing. It follows the same process as a water icing as you mix the egg whites with the icing sugar to form a thick paste.
- Transfer your egg white icing to a piping bag and begin to assemble each aspect of your design. You can use props for stability if necessary, but make sure each one is completely set before arranging on a board.