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Spiced biscuit potting shed


Serves: 8-10
timePrep time: 2 hrs 15 mins
timeTotal time:
Spiced biscuit potting shed
Recipe photograph by Martin Poole

Spiced biscuit potting shed

The classic gingerbread house gets a spring makeover with this picture-perfect potting shed, complete with chocolate cake planters and edible plants

Serves: 8-10
timePrep time: 2 hrs 15 mins
timeTotal time:

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Nutritional information (per serving)
Calories
584Kcal
Fat
21gr
Saturates
10gr
Carbs
91gr
Sugars
58gr
Fibre
2gr
Protein
7gr
Salt
1.2gr

Sarah Akhurst

Sarah Akhurst

Our Food Director Sarah is a food obsessive, and spends most of her time scoping out the latest food trends, experimenting in her own kitchen, or making her family wait to eat while she photographs every dinner she makes for the 'gram! A complete Middle Eastern food junkie, she is never far from a good shawarma marinade, a pinch of Aleppo chilli or a sprig of dill
See more of Sarah Akhurst ’s recipes
Sarah Akhurst

Sarah Akhurst

Our Food Director Sarah is a food obsessive, and spends most of her time scoping out the latest food trends, experimenting in her own kitchen, or making her family wait to eat while she photographs every dinner she makes for the 'gram! A complete Middle Eastern food junkie, she is never far from a good shawarma marinade, a pinch of Aleppo chilli or a sprig of dill
See more of Sarah Akhurst ’s recipes

Ingredients

For the spiced biscuit shed
  • 340g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tbsp ground mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 140g unsalted butter, diced
  • 110g dark muscovado or brown sugar
  • 90g golden syrup
For the chocolate flower beds
  • 60g golden caster sugar
  • 30g light brown sugar
  • 60g plain flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 medium egg
  • 50ml buttermilk
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
For the royal icing
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1 egg white*
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • pink and green food colouring
You will also need
  • a piping bag and fine nozzle
  • House of Cake sugar carrot decorations
  • sugar flower decorations
  • rosemary sprigs
  • about 10 sheets of leaf gelatine
  • edible glue
  • Dr Oetker chocolate flavour caramel crunch cake sprinkles
  • ready to roll black icing
  • pretzel sticks

Step by step

  1. For the biscuit dough, combine the flour, bicarb, spices and salt in a bowl. Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to form a dough. Wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make your templates. For the potting shed, you need an 18cm x 10cm base, two 18cm x 10cm side walls with four windows cut from each, two 18cm x 7cm roof sheets with four windows cut from each, and two 10cm x 15cm-tall pointed gable ends with windows and door cut out (use the door as its own separate template and cut a window in this too). For the planters, you need a 7cm x 5cm base, two 7cm x 3cm long sides and two 5cm x 3cm short sides.
  3. Line multiple baking sheets with baking paper; you may need to bake in stages. Roll out half of the biscuit dough to around 4-5mm thick between two sheets of baking paper. Use the templates to cut out the various elements of the shed and planters, gathering up and re-rolling the offcuts as necessary and moving onto the second piece of dough when you’ve used up the first. Use the planter templates four times so you have enough biscuits to create four planters.
  4. Transfer the pieces to the baking trays, leaving space between each biscuit for them to spread slightly. You might find it easier to cut out the windows when the biscuits are on the tray, to help keep their shape better. Keep similar-size pieces together as the smaller biscuits will need less time in the oven. Chill again for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Bake the larger biscuits for 10-12 minutes, and the smaller biscuits for 8 minutes. As soon as they are out of the oven, trim the edges to give you good straight lines (for clean joins) and then leave to cool on the trays.
  6. For the flower beds, reduce the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4 and grease and line a loaf tin, about 23cm x 8cm on the base. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil and vanilla then mix this into the dry ingredients; pour into the tin. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cake has risen and a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out to a wire rack.
  7. For the royal icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the egg white and lemon juice. Whisk for 2 minutes with an electric mixer until the icing is smooth and spreadable, then add 2 teaspoons of cold water and continue to whisk for 3-4 minutes until you reach stiff peak stage. Keep back a couple of spoonfuls of white icing, colouring a little of this pink. Tint the rest of the icing green; transfer to a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle.
  8. For the royal icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the egg white and lemon juice. Whisk for 2 minutes with an electric mixer until the icing is smooth and spreadable, then add 2 teaspoons of cold water and continue to whisk for 3-4 minutes until you reach stiff peak stage. Keep back a couple of spoonfuls of white icing, colouring a little of this pink. Tint the rest of the icing green; transfer to a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle.
  9. For the shed, first attach the glazed windows to the shed sides, gable ends and roof sheet biscuits. Cut the gelatine sheets (using scissors) to just wider than the windows then attach on the underside of these biscuits with edible glue or dots of icing. When secure, use the green icing to build the shed. Place the base of the shed on a board and then attach the sides and gable ends first, using food tins or small bowls to hold them in place while the icing ‘mortar’ dries. Before attaching the roof, fill the base with some of the sprinkles to look like gravel and place one of the planters inside. Attach the door slightly ajar to the gable end. When everything is dry and secure, attach the roof sheets. When completely set, pipe creeping vines over the joins, adding dots of pink and white icing as flowers.
  10. For the garden tools, shape a brush and spade out of black icing and insert pretzel stick handles. Place the remaining planters around the potting shed, then brush the board with edible glue and cover with sprinkles for gravel. Lean the tools up against the planters or the potting shed. *The royal icing contains raw egg.

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