Building a Mouth-Watering Gingerbread House
is one of the things your children and grandchildren will look forward to every Christmas. Spending time with mommy and daddy in the kitchen and getting a little messy decorating their new Gingerbread House creates memories and traditions. Understanding how important this is for children (along with their parents and grandparents) is why we’re anxious to share this recipe, list of ingredients, and instructions on how to create your very own Gingerbread House.
So, let’s get started!
Gingerbread House Ingredients:
- 6 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 4 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 cups solid vegetable shortening
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup dark molasses
- 3 large eggs
- 1 roll kitchen parchment paper (at least 10 yards long)
- 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter for roof tiles
- Assorted cookie cutters (such as Christmas tree, gingerbread man, and star)
- 6 sheets of card stock (about 15 X 15 inches)
Preparing to Build a Gingerbread house:
In a large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger and blend together. In a separate large bowl, beat the shortening with a mixer until fluffy. Slowly add the sugar, continuing to beat until fluffy. While beating, add one egg at a time and then the molasses until well blended. Lastly, add the dry ingredients slowly into the wet ingredients and mix until they are fully blended and dough is formed.
Divide the dough into 6 parts. Flatten each piece and generally form them into a rectangle. Individually wrap them in plastic and store in the fridge at least 6 hours to firm (it can be stored overnight).
Making the Gingerbread House Patterns
The 6 pieces of cut dough will be rolled out and cut to make the house walls and roof: two for the side walls, one each for the front and back walls, and the remaining two for the roof sections. The remaining dough will be rolled out and used to create the stars, Christmas trees, and other figures.
For the Gingerbread House section patterns, you will cut card stock into the following sizes:
- 7 by 9 inch pattern for the foundation.
- 6 by 9 inch rectangle for the roof.
- 7 by 4 inch rectangle for the side walls.
- 5 by 8 inch trimmed rectangle for the end walls.
To make the end wall pattern, draw a 5 by 8 inch rectangle on card stock. Then draw a 5″ line dividing the 8″ rectangle in half (creating two 5 by 4 inch boxes) and make a mark at the center of one of the 5″ ends. The 5″ long dividing line becomes the base of the gable’s triangle. Complete the gable triangle by drawing lines from each end of the dividing line to the center mark of the 5″ end of the rectangle, trimming off the excess to create your angle roof line (see drawing). For the door, cut out one 1 ½ by 2 ¾” rectangle at the base of any wall, centered. And, for windows, cut out 1 1/2 by 1 1/2″ squares in any walls as desired. Also, you can cut out any special patterns for chimneys, shingles, trees, stars, etc. to individualize your Gingerbread House.
Now it’s time to start cutting the dough, using your patterns.
Remove a section of the dough from the refrigerator and place between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll the dough out, pulling the paper away and replacing as your dough spreads, to 1/4″ thick. Repeat for each section of dough. Remove the top piece of parchment paper only, place your card stock patterns or floured cookie cutters onto the rolled out dough and cut around each of the pieces. Place trimmed dough with parchment paper underneath onto baking sheets. Cut out pieces using your patterns, according to these requirements:
- Cut out 1 piece of 7 by 9 inch dough for the foundation.
- Cut out 2 pieces of 6 by 9 inch rectangles for the roof halves.
- Cut out 2 pieces of 4 by 7 inch rectangles for the walls.
- Cut out 2 pieces of 5 by 8 inch rectangles (trimmed for the gable’s triangle) for the end walls.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Pop them into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees F until dough firms. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a baking sheet.
Making the Icing
4 large egg whites
7 to 7 ½ cups of powdered sugar, sifted
To make the icing:
- In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites for about a minute using an electric mixer until it appears foamy. Add ½ cup of sifted powdered sugar and beat well into the egg whites. Add the remaining cups of sifted sugar one at a time until well blended.
- Beat the icing at high speed for about 5 minutes until it appears thick and stiff.
- Spoon icing into pastry bag with ¼ – 3/8-inch-diamater tip and gently push the icing to the tip of the bag to start decorating. Twist the top of the bag to close and squeeze the bag to pipe on decorations of your choice to the different parts of the house: the doors, walls, and roof.
Add decorative designs and candies for the Christmas decor:
You can create trees by cutting out two tree shapes with cut outs in each piece to interlace, as seen below:
Be creative with your details:
Stick the corners of the front and the back of the house to the side walls using the royal icing. Place an object against each wall to hold them in place until they dry. Then, when the walls are firm, move onto the foundation piece securing with royal icing.
Decorate the house as desired using gumdrops, peppermints, licorice, or your favorite treats. And, if you are looking for “lip-smacking” Gingerbread House designs, you can always scan through our blogs.