This winter, combine fun, family, and food all into one activity. Instead of heading to your local supermarket and buying a gingerbread house kit, try a different approach this year and build yours completely from scratch. We have broken down each step so your gingerbread house comes out better than ever before.
Step 1: Make gingerbread.
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1½ tsp. ground cloves
- ¼ cup molasses or honey
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In large mixing bowl, combine butter, molasses or honey, cinnamon, brown sugar, cloves, baking soda, and ginger until mixture is smooth.
- Add the flour and water to create stiff dough. Chill for minimum 30 minutes or until firm.
Step 2: Get template.
While the dough is chilling, it is time to get your templates to build your gingerbread house. You can find many printable templates online, ranging from houses with chimneys and windows or just a basic house with a roof and four walls. Once they are printed, cut out the patterns and set them aside.
Step 3: Baking and prepping the gingerbread.
Grab the gingerbread dough and roll it out to the edges on a large rimless cookie sheet. Place the templates on the dough and use a sharp knife to cut around the pieces. Do not remove the cut outs from the excess dough just yet.
Bake the dough in your already hot oven for about 15 minutes or until firm. After the dough is ready, put the templates back on the dough and trim the edges with a sharp knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.
Step 4: Make icing.
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
- In large bowl of a standing mixer, combine egg whites and vanilla. Beat until frothy.
- Add confectioners’ sugar slowly while mixing on low speed until sugar is well combined and the mixture is shiny.
- Turn mixing speed to high and beat until mixture forms stiff peaks, about 5-7 minutes.
- Use immediately.
Tip: Put the finished icing in a large bowl. This allows you to dip each gingerbread piece into the icing rather than using a pastry bag to put the icing on each individual piece.
Step 5: Build and decorate your house.
Before you start to put your house together, you’ll need a base. We suggest using a piece of cardboard covered in aluminum foil or parchment paper. Once that is ready, the fun begins.
Use the icing as glue and attach the walls, roof and any other large pieces together. After your house is sturdy, it’s time to decorate. Any candy can be used here (even your old Halloween candy) as well as marshmallows, chocolate chips and even gingerbread men. Be creative! When it is all done, find the perfect place to put it on display.
Tip: If you do not like how the aluminum foil or parchment paper looks, cover the base in shredded coconut to make it look like snow.