Gingerbread houses are a staple of the holiday season. Why not make your very own from scratch rather than picking up a basic, less tasty version at the store? Here’s how.
At this time of year you’re likely to see all kinds of gingerbread kits at the grocery store, but they aren’t nearly as tasty or fun to decorate as one you make yourself. With this gingerbread house pattern, recipe and decorating ideas, you can create your very own homemade edible decor this year!
For the gingerbread:
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup fancy molasses
- 1/4 cup and 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons milk
- 5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
For the icing:
- 3 egg whites
- 3-2/3 cups icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
Cut out the house pattern on plain paper. The front and back should be 7 inches wide, 4 inches on either side and 7-1/2 inches to the top point. The side pieces should be 8 inches wide and 4 inches high. The roof pieces should be 5-1/2 inches by 9 inches.
Combine the brown sugar, molasses, butter, cinnamon and ginger in a medium-sized bowl. Stir thoroughly until all clumps are removed. Add in the milk.
Sift 4 cups of flour and the baking soda into a large bowl. Pour in the wet ingredients, and combine. Add the remaining flour 1/2 a cup at a time, and stir until fully combined.
Roll the dough into four or five balls, and chill them in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place waxed paper over a large cutting board, and roll one ball of dough flat. Make sure it is less than 1/8 of an inch thick all the way around, including in the centre. Place a piece of the pattern on the dough, and slice out the shape with a sharp knife. Remove the extra pieces.
Slide your hand under the waxed paper, and flip the piece onto a non-stick baking tray. Once the tray is full, bake the pieces in the oven. Avoid placing more than one tray at a time in the oven.
Bake for 7–10 minutes or until the bottom corners start to turn golden brown. Remove from heat, and transfer to a rack to cool. Repeat this process until all six pieces have been baked. Let the gingerbread cool fully. While the gingerbread cools, prepare all the candy you’ll use to decorate. Set up the base you’ll use as well, which can be as simple as a piece of cardboard or an old cutting board. Cover it in parchment paper or tinfoil, and secure in place.
Prepare the icing by mixing the egg whites, icing sugar and almond extract with an electric hand mixer. Transfer the icing to a piping bag.
Begin by icing the walls of the house together and attaching them to the base. Then attach the roof.
Now it’s decorating time! The only rule here is to make sure to decorate as you ice, since you want to make sure all the candy stays in place. Other than that, you have free rein to decorate your house exactly as you like!
If you’re working with kids, we recommend doing a bit of decorating before putting the house together so they don’t get impatient. Give each child a side of the house, and ice on some windows or a door they can decorate immediately. Once the pieces are dry, put them together, and then begin decorating the seams and base. This is a good method because gravity can be an issue when working with heavy candies.
There’s no end to the kinds of candy and decorating styles you can use when dressing up your house. We share a few of the many delicious treats you may want to include in your design:
- M&Ms (especially the red and green holiday variety)
- Silver balls
- Chocolate balls
- Hershey kisses
- Candy canes
- Coloured chocolate baking drops
- Jelly beans
- Gum balls
- Jube jubes
- Icing sugar to create a snowy effect