Gingerbread House

Inspired by The Gingerbread Architect

To make one gingerbread house the size of mine (pictured, right), you will need one recipe of this dough. I like to make a couple recipes so I can have some extra for pieces that may break, pieces that come out ugly or just for plain old gingerbread men.

  • Making a gingerbread house is a project that needs to be done over a series of days. I’ve mapped out a basic plan for you. For photos illustrating the steps I’ve outlined below, click here. If you have kids home on holiday break, this can be a very fun project. The anticipation of completing the next steps each day is exciting for the little ones and the sense of accomplishment at the end is priceless.
  • Before you begin, choose a pattern and be realistic about your level of expertise. We tend to choose fairly basic patterns. The pattern pictured here is the Cape Cod from the book I mentioned above. It’s considered a beginner house. If you need some ideas for patterns, I recommend this book but warn you that many of the patterns are intermediate to advanced. For more basic gingerbread house patterns, try this link:
  • Day One

  • Now that you’ve chosen your pattern, make templates of all the pieces you will need using a heavy cardstock. You will also need to be sure you have all the ingredients to make the dough, the royal icing (which acts as your cement) and any decorations your imagination can conjure. Our favorites – gum drops, licorice, jelly beans, gummy bears, nonpareils, orange slices, yogurt pretzels, mini-candy canes and candy “legos.”
  • Make the dough, then refrigerate it overnight.
  • Day Two

  • Roll out the dough according to the directions in the dough recipe, cut into all shapes needed for your house, then bake in batches. Cool each piece fully, then set aside covered in loosely in plastic wrap until the next day.
  • Day Three

  • Make the royal icing. Create a base for your house by using a sturdy piece of cardboard or a dispensable cutting board. Cover in foil and tape down the edges for a neat look.
  • Fill a pastry bag with a #7 tip with frosting. Construct the four walls, using canned vegetables as necessary to stabilize and hold until dry and set. You will need to pipe a strip of frosting on the bottom of each piece and along each side. Allow to dry completely.
  • Rather than washing the pastry bag every day, I just put it in a zip top plastic bag with a damp cloth and refrigerate until I’m ready to use it again the next day.
  • Day Four

  • Add the roof. Allow to dry completely.
  • Day Five

  • At this point, your house should have four walls and a roof. You are ready for the fun part! Use your imagination and decorate the house as you like. You can even create things around it like trees (upside down ice cream cone) or a fence (yogurt pretzels) or little gingerbread people. Step back and admire your handy work. Your children will be beaming with pride at their creation! Enjoy.

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