- Food and Cooking
How To Make A Gingerbread House: Complete Instructions And Photos
About 20 years ago I had the pleasure of attending a Christmas Party at the home of a friend and saw the most beautiful gingerbread house she had made for the occasion. As soon as I entered the house, I could smell the wonderful aroma of gingerbread. My Mother made gingerbread when I was a child, and it was always a favorite of mine. My friend, Patty, had decorated her home beautifully for the holiday season. She had a large decorated Christmas tree in front of the living room window, complete with many lights.
My Friend Had Made A Beautiful Gingerbread House
In the middle of her dining room table there was a beautiful gingerbread house. Patty had adorned the house with candies. There was a chimney made of marshmallows, and there were trees made from ice cream cones full of colored sprinkles. She had made a curving path with candy M & M’s that looked like flagstones. There was a fence made from licorice sticks. The house sat on a base that was covered in coconut to look like fresh fallen snow.
We Made A Date To Have A Class On Making A Gingerbread House
There were about 20 of us young Mothers and wives in attendance that night for this party. We all just looked at this gingerbread house in awe. We complimented our hostess, Patty, on the house, and we all said we’d sure like to learn how to make a house like this one. She was so pleased that we liked her creation that she said she would teach us how to make a gingerbread house like hers! A date was made a week from that evening for us all to get together at Patty's house for a gingerbread house building party. We were thrilled that we would be able to construct our own house in time for Christmas!
A Plastic Lid Is Used For the Base
We Are Given A List Of Supplies We Will Need
Before the evening was over, Patty had made a list of supplies to bring with us the night of our class:
The constructed cardboard house (made ahead of time)
The Gingerbread pieces (made ahead of time)
A base of either a plastic lid or 1 inch Styrofoam. If you place the house on such a base, it can be moved from place to place without fear.
Our choice of candies and/or cookies we wanted to use on our house
Follow My Instructions For A Sturdy And Beautiful Gingerbread House
A lot of people have been discouraged when trying to make a Gingerbread House because they follow the instructions they are given. They try to assemble the house by "gluing" the pieces together with frosting. The walls will just fall down!
FIRST OF ALL YOU MUST build a sturdy cardboard house and attach the pieces of gingerbread directly to that house using Royal Frosting as "glue". I guarantee your house will be very strong. You can move it from place to place without fear of your work of art being destroyed. After you put this much time and effort into making a Gingerbread House, you want it to be seen and enjoyed all during the holidays.
I have read that some people spray their completed Gingerbread house with a clear sealant so it can be preserved for a longer period of time. I have never tried to do that, because my family is always too eager to EAT the Gingerbread House!
Construct The Gingerbread House Using Cardboard Or Foamcore
The first thing to do is to make the house. You can use a large piece of cardboard, or sturdy foamcore board. This board can be purchased at any Crafts store. If you want to build one as large as mine, follow my measurements and cut out the pieces using a sharp Exacto Knife. If you want to start out making a smaller house, any small mailing box will work. Refer to my photo for a small Gingerbread House.
Measurements of the Gingerbread house
Making The Patterns For The Gingerbread House
Using the house that you have covered with foil as your guide, place aluminum foil on each section of the house. Press the foil onto the house to make a mark so you will know where to cut the foil. These will be your pattern pieces to place on the rolled out gingerbread.
Be sure and label (I use a black Sharpie Pen) all of the pieces so you will know which piece of gingerbread goes where on the house. I also note on the pattern piece how many pieces I need. Keep in mind after the gingerbread is baked, you will glue the pieces on the house, using the Royal Frosting as the glue.
The Patterns For The Gingerbread House Are Cut out
Pattern For The End and Gable Of The Gingerbread House
Get All The Ingredients Ready To Make The Gingerbread House
Double This Recipe For A Large Gingerbread House
One recipe of this Gingerbread will NOT be enough to make enough pieces to completely cover your house. If you are making a smaller version, one recipe will be enough.
You will need to double the recipe for the house I made. I would suggest making two batches of dough rather than trying to double the ingredients all at once. I always have some dough left over which I roll out and make Gingerbread Men. I have supplied a link below to make those cute little men.
Ingredients for Gingerbread
- 5 cups Flour, white plain
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 3/4 Cup Shortening (Crisco)
- 3/4 Cup Sugar, Granulated
- 1 Egg Whole Egg
- 1 Cup Dark Molasses (Grandma's)
Instructions For Making The Gingerbread
- Mix Flour, Soda, Cinnamon, Ginger, Ground Gloves and Salt in a large bowl. In another large bowl: Mix Shortening and Sugar until light and fluffy using the electric mixer. Add the Egg and Molasses. Beat well. Then add the Flour mixture a cup at a time until it is all blended well. Take off your rings and wash your hands cause you have to use your hands to mix! If the dough feels too moist to roll, add more flour.
- Divide the dough into four balls. I use Wax Paper to keep the dough from sticking. Place a ball of dough onto a sheet of Paper, and another sheet on the top. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Lay a pattern on top of the rolled dough and carefully cut out with a sharp knife.
- Line your cookie sheets with Parchment Paper. Flip the cut out piece of gingerbread so that the foil is down. It will bake on the foil. PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 375 DEGREES. Bake the pieces for 8 minutes. DON'T OVERCOOK!
If you roll the Gingerbread out between two pieces of waxed paper, the dough will not stick, making it easy to remove the Gingerbread Men without tearing them. I use this same method for rolling out all cookes, too.
Using Royal Frosting To "Glue" The Pieces Of Gingerbread To The House
Get The Ingredients Ready To Make The Decorations For The Gingerbread House
To Make The Frosting For The Gingerbread House
You will need Royal Frosting to “glue” the decorations onto the Gingerbread. I used to make my Royal Frosting with egg whites, but then I discovered Powdered Meringue. Now I use that to make Royal Frosting:
Beat 4 egg whites till foamy. Gradually add Confection’s Sugar until the mixture if moderately stiff. Add 1 teaspoon Clear Vanilla Extract.
If you use the Powdered Meringue, follow the instructions on the can.
After the pieces of Gingerbread are secured to the house, you are ready to decorate the house. You will have “seams” where the pieces have been joined. You can use tiny marshmallows dipped into the frosting to cover the seams, or Hershey’s Kisses work great, too.
The Completed Gingerbread House
Make A Gingerbread House You Will Be Proud of
It has become a tradition in our home to make a Gingerbread House each Christmas. I use the same cardboard house each year (don't let anyone throw that out!)
My children and grandchildren always look forward to making and decorating a Gingerbread House. Every year it comes out looking quite different from the previous year.
I have a daugher whose birthday is December 12, and we complete our house in time for her birthday where it serves as her birthday cake!
Start Your Own Family Tradition By Making A Gingerbread House
I am so glad I had a good friend who taught me how to make a Gingerbread House many years ago. I have hosted many Gingerbread House parties where I share my knowledge and experience in making these houses with friends. I do hope I have inspired you to start a family tradition by learning how to make one too!
Have I inspired you to make a Gingerbread House?
Make Gingerbread Men Using This Same Recipe
- How To Make Easy And Adorable Gingerbread Men: Complete Instructions And Recipe For Delicious Ginger
One of our Christmas traditions is to make Gingerbread Men. They are fun to make, and everyone loves to receive one of their own, especially if their name is written on the Gingerbread Man.
My Hub on Making a No Bake Christmas House Using Cookies and Candy
- How To Make A No Bake Christmas House Using Cookies And Candy : Instructions With Photos
These are instructions and photos on how to make a no-bake cookies and candy house. The house is constructed with Foam Core that can be reused.
A Great Hub On Making A Mini Gingerbread House
- Mini Gingerbread House Recipe
This is a mini gingerbread house recipe made of Graham Crackers. It´s an easy way of making Gingerbread House especially when you don´t have enough time baking for the gingerbread pattern. Enjoy and have fun in your creativity.
A great video on making a Gingerbread House
© 2012 Mary Hyatt