A Gingerbread House always adds whimsy and fun to Christmas decorations. And they are fun to make! There are lots of pre-baked gingerbread house kits on the market, but you know me, always wanting to do it myself. (Kind of like a 2-year-old!)
Gingerbread houses apparently started becoming popular after the Brothers Grimm fairytale, Hansel and Gretel was written. Check out the history.
A friend of mine, Donna, has been making gingerbread houses for years. In fact, she has Gingerbread House decorating parties! Just bake and assemble a few houses, set out all kinds of colorful candies, and invite your Gr8 Friends and Family!
If you shop it right, you can get a lot of candies for Gr8 prices. Watch for sales and check your local dollar store. This darling decoration doesn't have to break the bank!
Donna kindly provided this pattern for me and it makes one small house. You are free to decorate with whatever colors and types of candies you prefer.
Cut the pattern pieces about a ¼" shorter than the indicated dimensions so when the pieces are laminated and trimmed the dimensions are correct.
Gingerbread House Pattern
- Card Stock
- Laminating plastic
- Cut each card stock piece about ¼" less than the dimensions, so when the pieces are laminated and trimmed, they are the correct measurements.
- FRONT: Cut 1 - From the base to the peak is 7" high. The base is 5 ½" wide. Each side, before the pitch of the roof, is 3 ⅞" tall. Cut out the door.
- BACK: Cut 1 - From the base to the peak is 7" high. The base is 5 ½" wide. Each side, before the pitch of the roof, is 3 ⅞" tall.
- SIDE: Cut 2 - 4 ½" high x 5" wide.
- ROOF: Cut 2 - 6 ⅜" wide x 5 ⅜" high.
- When all the pieces are cut, laminate them and trim. Then you're ready to go! Don't forget the door!
A DIY Festive Gingerbread House
- 2 ¾ cups flour, plus additional for rolling the dough
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ⅔ cup molasses
Royal Icing with egg
- 3 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 pound powdered sugar, see note
- 1 flat baking sheet, with no sides, either 16"x14" or 18"x13", see Gr8 Notes below
- 1 board or flat tray to put the house on
- Piping bags and decorating tips
- Assorted Candy
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and spices. Add the brown sugar.
- Stir in the egg, molasses, and vegetable oil. (I used my stand mixer on low.)
- Mix this thoroughly, then wrap in plastic and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Prepare your flat cookie sheet by wrapping with foil; then spread a thin layer of oil on the foil.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator, it will still be fairly soft.
- Lay the dough in the middle of your baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with flour. (If you put the baking sheet on top of a dish towel, it should help to keep it stable while rolling out the dough.)
- Starting from the middle, roll the dough to each edge of the baking sheet. Add light amounts of flour as necessary to keep from sticking to the rolling pin. Try to get the dough as evenly thick as possible and as close to straight edges as possible.
- Bake for 35 - 40 minutes. Watch it carefully, because ovens do differ and you don't want the edges to burn, but you do want the gingerbread to be totally baked.
- Place the pattern on the hot bread and immediately cut the pieces out, then place on a rack to cool. The pieces should be very hard. If they do not cool hard, then you can put them back in the oven for a few minutes to harden.
- Put the 3 egg whites and cream of tartar into a mixing and beat at high speed until stiff. (Alternatively, use Wilton's Meringue Powder and follow the package directions for Royal Icing.)
- Then beat in the powdered sugar. The frosting needs to be stiff to hold the house together. If it is too soft, add more powdered sugar. If it is too stiff, add water one teaspoon at a time.
- Assemble the gingerbread house using the royal icing as your "cement."
- Let the house dry before proceeding to the decorating phase, otherwise, the weight of the candies will collapse the house.
- As you are working with the icing, keep the unused portion covered with a wet towel to keep it fresh.
Decorating the House
- Once the house is strong and dry, spoon the remaining icing into a decorating bag and attach the candies and decorate as desired!
Some Gr8 Tips:
- Make sure the gingerbread is totally baked and hard when cooled. If it's still soft after cooling, put the house pieces back on a cookie sheet in the 300° oven to harden for a few minutes. If the gingerbread is not strong and hard, the candies will collapse the house.
- I used a pre-covered ½" thick cake board from Wilton to support my house. A regular piece of cardboard tends to warp.