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7 Spellbinding gingerbread houses to wow your friends and family

Making your own gingerbread house from scratch is one of the most notoriously difficult baking challenges out there, but it's incredibly rewarding when you get to show your creation off! Try your hand at one of these magical masterpieces and display it with pride this Christmas.

7 Spellbinding gingerbread houses to wow your friends and family

1. Fairy castle

Possibly one of the most impressive designs you could make, a fairy castle complete with towers and pretty decorations is sure to please. Download a template that looks suitable, ensure you make plenty of dough, and allow yourself a day or so to bake and assemble all the pieces. Decorate with pretty elements like piped white icing, silver sugar balls, edible glitter and pink sweets. Delightful!

2. Birdhouse

This is a sweet take on a traditional house, and might be a lot simpler to create, too. Find a pattern online and create gingerbread dough, then decorate the pieces to resemble a quaint birdhouse. Make sure you add a little window at the top for the bird to fly out of – you could even bake a gingerbread bird and place him on a wooden skewer, so he looks like he's flying away!

3. Festive train

If you bake up a gingerbread train, be sure to fill its carriages with your favourite treats! Download a suitable template online, then cut out the pieces from a sturdy gingerbread dough. Use liquorice wheels for the train wheels and join together carriages using a large sweet. You could even add a gingerbread man conductor – it's sure to bring joy to your guests!

4. Hansel and Gretel's cottage

Based on the traditional gingerbread house, this project is great for adding lots of decoration since the structure is simpler. Find a basic house template to use, then decorate with an abundance of white royal icing, and use red and green sweets for a traditional festive look. Don't forget to finish by adding a trail of sweets leading into the house and a gingerbread Hansel and Gretel standing outside the front!

5. Ski village

If Christmas summons memories of alpine holidays, recreating a ski village scene is a great way to capture that. Try creating mountain shapes from gingerbread and dusting them with icing sugar to represent snow, then create several small individual houses and place them around the scene. If you really want to go the extra mile, have a go at making a ski lift!

6. Nativity scene

A little cabin with nativity figurines makes a tasty alternative to traditional models. Download a pattern, then cut out the individual pieces and bake – bear in mind that smaller pieces will cook more quickly. Once cool, ice all of the pieces for Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the shepherds, and so on, then leave to dry before carefully assembling. Finish with a gingerbread star.

7. Camper van

If you're a fan of retro camper vans, this might be the perfect project for you! Find a good template and cut out all the pieces, then bake according to the instructions. Try creating a mini campfire from red, orange and yellow fondant icing, and add piped red and green Christmas bunting to the front of the camper van. Anyone want to go camping?