1 quantitygingerbreadTo decorate:silver cachous and red sugar ballsTo fill house:lollies (optional)To cover board:fondant (optional)For dusting:pure icing sugarRoyal icing4eggwhites880 gmpure icing sugar, sieved
Preheat oven to 180C. Roll out each piece of gingerbread on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick. Using templates as guides, cut out 2 roof pieces (10.5cm wide and 27cm long), 2 side walls (14cm high and 24cm long) and 2 end walls (13cm wide and 14cm high, with a 6cm-high pitch for the roof), re-rolling scraps if necessary, then cut a door out of one end wall. Cut decorative shapes out of any remaining scraps (we made a Christmas tree for the garden and shutters for the windows). Place pieces on oven trays lined with baking paper and bake in batches until darkened around edges (8-10 minutes for smaller pieces; 10-12 minutes for larger pieces), cool on trays for 5 minutes then cool on wire racks.
Meanwhile, for royal icing, lightly whisk eggwhite in a large bowl, gradually add icing sugar and mix until mixture is smooth and holds a soft peak. Spoon royal icing into piping bags fitted with desired piping tubes and decorate pieces of gingerbread house as desired.
Spread a little icing on the backs of biscuit pieces (shutters et cetera) to affix.
Decorate gingerbread pieces with more piped royal icing and embellishments as desired and set aside until icing sets (25-30 minutes).
Spread a little icing along base and sides of a side section and along base of a front section with a small palette knife. Place on board, joining the walls and supporting with small tumblers until icing sets (30 minutes).
Repeat with back wall and remaining side section, securing at bases and at each join with icing, supporting with small tumblers until set (30 minutes).
Spread icing over top edges of house, then carefully secure roof sections (fill with lollies at this stage if using), again using tumblers for support until icing sets (30 minutes).
For icicles, hold tip of piping bag at an angle above edges of roof and pipe icing, allowing it to slip and catch along edges of roof (if icing is too stiff, thin it with a little water). Pipe a line of icing around doorway and attach door, pipe royal icing down each join to cover and set aside to set. Roll out fondant and use to cover board around house (or spread royal icing), dust with icing sugar to form snow drifts and serve.