Making a gingerbread house is all about creating a unique design that has character and whimsy! No two gingerbread houses should be alike, as your own personality should come beaming through like a light from a window. No matter if your ideal gingerbread house is fun and colorful or a sophisticated wintry white, it would be nice if it tasted good too! Surprisingly, while gingerbread houses are a feast for your eyes, they usually leave your taste buds dissatisfied. Since the dough has to become structurally sound enough to stand tall without crumbling, the recipes usually aren’t the tastiest. Traditional gingerbread house recipes leave out the milk, eggs, baking powder, and baking soda to deliver cake pieces that are super dense, flat, and tough. These make for great building pieces, not great snacking pieces. But who wants a gingerbread house that tastes like sawdust? This year, give this awesome recipe a try and make a gingerbread house that actually tastes good. Because you know you’ll be sneaking pieces when no one’s looking!
Ingredients for House:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ C. packed light brown sugar
1 C. dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 ¼ C. flour
4 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. salt
Ingredients for Royal Icing:
3 C. confectioners’ sugar (plus more as needed)
2 egg whites
Supplies Needed for Assembly and Decoration:
Cardboard base for the house
Pastry bag with a medium plain tip and a small plain tip
Roof (gum drops, mini-wheats cereal, sprinkles, Necco wafers, marshmallows, candy cane sticks, round peppermint candies, pecan halves, glistening white sprinkles)
Fence (mini tootsie rolls, pretzel sticks)
Lamp post (small candy canes)
Snow drifts (granulated sugar)
Cobblestone path or steps (marshmallows, Necco wafers, Nilla wafer cookies, M&Ms)
Snowman (marshmallows, cloves, pretzel sticks)
Over-the-door wreath (green jelly ring, green frosting, red hots)
Trees (green jellies, green frosting)
Assorted candies (white chocolate chips, white Hershey Kisses, nonpareils or snow caps, silver dragées (edible pearls/beads), Life Savers, Animal Crackers, Teddy Grahams)
Directions for Mixing:
- In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Using a paddle attachment on your mixer is helpful with this step.
- Add the sugar and mix until it’s light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time until thoroughly mixed in.
- Add the molasses and vanilla and mix well.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves, and salt.
- In small increments, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture and mix until just combined after each addition.
- Form the dough into a thick disk shape, wrap it in wax paper, and place it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours (until chilled).
Directions for Baking:
- Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease two cookie sheets.
- Lightly flour the surface where you’ll be rolling out the dough.
- Divide the dough in half and roll out each half into a large ¼”-thick sheet.
- Transfer the dough sheets onto the cookie pans and proceed to cut your house shapes. You’ll need the following shapes for 1 house (7 pieces total):
- A front and rear wall: 5”H x 8”L. Cut two windows out of each wall. Cut out a door in one piece that measures 2 ½” x 1 ½”.
- Two side walls in the shape of a house (triangle set on a square): 5”H x 6”L, triangle that measures 7”H on top. Cut a window out of each side.
- Two overhanging roof pieces: 4 ½”W x 9”L.
- A door that measures 2 ½”H x 1 ½”W.
- Bake in a preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes, until stiff and toast-like. Let the pieces cool completely on a wire rack.
Directions for Making the Royal Icing:
Using a stand mixer, whip the confectioners’ sugar and egg whites together with a whisk attachment. Add more sugar until you reach the desired spreadable consistency.
Assemble and Decorate Your Gingerbread House:
To “glue” the walls together, stand them up on the cardboard base and pipe the icing along the inside of the joints. Prop them up by placing bottles, jugs, books, or other sturdy objects next to the freshly glued walls and let them sit for about 30 minutes. Once the icing has hardened, attach the roof pieces in the same way. Use icing as hinges to hang the front door. Leave the door open a little for added dimension. When you’re ready to decorate the roof, use the icing to glue on your roof materials. Spread it with a spatula or pipe it on (depends on your roof decorations). Use any decorations you like to design a fun, whimsical gingerbread house! The sky’s the limit!