One of my favorite things to do at Christmas is make and decorate a Gingerbread House. I normally do a traditional one, covered with sweets and marshmallows. This time, however, I decided to switch things up. My favorite aspect of a decorated tree is making it look snow covered. Mumbai, however, doesn’t experience snow which means having a snow covered one doesn’t really mean much. So for all those who have a warm summer, here’s a Gingerbread Tipi. I found the idea on Pinterest after scouring it for ideas. There are a few different versions of it on there, but I liked the one by BakingMagique the most. There’s even a template to cut out the pieces. Just print it out on some thick A4 paper, cut and use to shape the pieces of the tipi.
The recipe I used to make the gingerbread dough is the same as the one I used for my Halloween skeleton cookies as is the recipe I used for the royal icing.
Once you’ve rolled out the dough, use a sharp paring knife to cut out the pieces. One very important thing to remember is that they are all in the same direction. Meaning if the pointy bit angles to the right, all the pieces should have the pointy bit angling to the right. I’ll explain why later. Also, do a couple of extra pieces just in case. One extra with the cut out of the door and one plain should do fine unless you are super clumsy like me and keep breaking pieces.
Make sure you let them cool before handling them or they can break.
Ok, so there are two ways to actually assemble the tipi – royal icing or melted sugar. Both have pros and cons. The royal icing takes really long to set and doesn’t hold as well. With the melted sugar however you have to work really fast, coz it sets almost instantly. But it does work a lot better than the royal icing.
I initially used royal icing. Pipe some along the edge of one piece and gently place the other piece against it. You want to do this with the second piece at an angle so that everything fits properly at the end. The picture should help you understand better. Due to Bombay’s humid weather, I had to use a hair dryer to help fasten the drying process (not that it did much)
When this method failed for me, I tried the melted sugar route. In a wide pan melt some sugar, until all of it is all dissolved. Then gently dip one side of the piece in the sugar and glue it onto another piece.
Let’s be real you cant keep holding the pieces together. Use a glass or box as support for the upcoming house. Keep gluing on pieces until the tipi is complete
Be it sugar or royal icing, there are going to be gaps in your construction. Once the icing or sugar has set, you want pipe icing sugar into these gaps. Even though I used sugar, I filled in the gaps with royal icing. The finish you get is far better.
Once you reach this stage, I would recommend leaving the tipi overnight. I did all the decorating the following day, giving the tipi a chance to firm up.
Now, if youre a clutz like me then you’ll keep breaking the pieces and may just end up with enought o buld the tipi. Because I broke so many peices (even the spares), I wound up with myy tipi having two doors. So when I say be careful, I really mean it.
Now for the decorating. I kept it super super simple. You can go all out and cover it with royal icing by doing patterns. I simply put some chocolate rocks along the bottom and simple patterns on top.
To stick the rocks on, you want to pipe a thick generous line of royal icing along the bottom edge of the tipi. Then stick each rock onto the icing.
I did it on all the sides, even the pieces with the doors.
For the final touches, I did some simple line patterns along the top, otherwise, the tipi would look a little too plain. And Voila!