How to make and decorate a gingerbread house? Every year we see amazing decorations and if you have never tried to make one before, now is the time! Do not hesitate, we shall give you a recipe for both gingerbread dough and royal icing for decoration. In addition, you will find a selection of the most beautiful gingerbread house decorated in different ways which can be your inspiration!
A gingerbread house is a beautiful and tasty treat that no holiday can do without. A homemade gingerbread house will turn Christmas Eve into a real winter tale. You need some patience but if you take your time and do not rush, the result will be amazing. If you want to be on the safe side and this is your first house, you may buy a pre-baked house from a store and just decorate it. You can make a gingerbread house with your whole family, there is work for everyone, and such entertainment will definitely bring you all together. In addition, this is one of the best homemade gifts that you can give to the people you love.
How to make and decorate a gingerbread house – step by step instructions
As we mentioned, you can buy a pre-baked gingerbread house but it’s much more interesting to bake and assemble it by yourself. Follow these step-by-step instructions and just have fun!
How to make and decorate a gingerbread house – Step 1
Make templates. The first step is to cut out templates for the gingerbread house from thick cardboard. There are many templates on the Internet and if you are a beginner, choose the most simple and basic one.
Step 2 – Prepare gingerbread dough
Once you are ready with the templates, it is time to make gingerbread dough. Here is a recipe for you:
6 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup dark molasses
1 Tbsp water
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy and well blended. Beat in the eggs, molasses and water until well combined.
Add half of the flour mixture into the molasses mixture until well blended and smooth. Stir in the remaining flour. Knead the dough until well blended. If dough is too soft, add a little more flour.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours, preferably overnight.
Let sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before rolling out.
Step 3 – Cut out and bake the elements
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C, with the oven rack in the middle.
Divide the dough in two. Spread parchment paper on a large flat surface for rolling. Dust the paper lightly with flour.
Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to an even thickness of 1/4-inch/0,5cm.
Cut out shapes in dough with pattern pieces with a small sharp knife.
Use a large metal spatula to transfer the dough pieces to a greased cookie sheet.
Space the pieces on the cookie sheet leaving 1-inch /2,5 cm from each other.
Bake in a 350°F/180°C oven until the edges are just beginning to darken, 11-15 minutes for the large pieces, 6-8 minutes for the small pieces.
Remove the sheets to racks to cool, about 15 minutes and trim the pieces, if necessary, while still warm. Transfer the pieces on racks to cool completely.
Step 4 – Make royal icing
The icing for the gingerbread house is not only a decor. This is also the “cement”, which will help to fasten all the details of the house together and create a stable structure. How to make gingerbread house icing:
1 pound/450g powdered sugar
3 egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
In a large bowl mix the ingredients together until it forms soft peaks.
Use to put together the elements of the house and for decorating.
Keep covered when not using to prevent it from hardening.
Step 5 – Decorate the elements of the gingerbread house
Use a pastry bag (or freezer bag) and fill it with the icing with a small piping tip. Decorate the elements. In addition to icing, you can use any type of candy, candied fruits, nuts and seeds, chocolate or nut crumbs, marshmallows, small cookies, etc. Fix all the decor elements on separate parts of the house with the help of icing and wait until everything hardens completely.
Step 6 – Assemble the gingerbread house
Fill the pastry bag with icing.
Pipe a thick line of icing and connect the facade to the side wall. Press the iced side piece against the edge of either the front or back pieces. Hold in place for a few minutes until the icing is partially set.
Pipe icing along the seams, inside and outside of the house to fill in any gaps and for extra stability.
Repeat the process, working patiently until you assemble the gingerbread house.
When the house is completely set and icing has hardened you can place it on a gingerbread dough base and fix it with more icing.