How to Make a Gingerbread House
Making the Gingerbread Dough
Making the gingerbread dough is an important step in building a gingerbread house. The dough needs to be firm enough to hold the shape of the house but also soft enough to be easy to work with. Here is a recipe for making gingerbread dough:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup molasses
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until creamy and smooth.
- Beat in the egg and molasses until well combined.
- Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until the dough comes together.
- Divide the dough into two equal portions and flatten into disks.
- Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Once the gingerbread dough is made, it can be rolled out and cut into the desired shapes for the house. The dough can also be used to make gingerbread people or other decorations for the house.
Cutting and Baking the Gingerbread Pieces
After making the gingerbread dough, the next step in building a gingerbread house is cutting and baking the gingerbread pieces. Here’s how to do it:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.
- Use a sharp knife or gingerbread house templates to cut out the pieces for your house: two side walls, a front wall, a back wall, and two roof pieces.
- Carefully transfer the pieces to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the gingerbread pieces for 10-12 minutes or until they are lightly browned around the edges.
- Remove the gingerbread pieces from the oven and let them cool completely on the baking sheet.
Once the gingerbread pieces are cool, they can be used to assemble the gingerbread house. It’s important to handle the pieces gently, as they can be fragile. Store the gingerbread pieces in an airtight container until you’re ready to assemble the house.
Assembling the Gingerbread House
Assembling a gingerbread house can be a fun and creative activity for the whole family. Here’s how to put together your gingerbread house:
- Prepare a sturdy base for your house. This could be a cake board or a piece of cardboard covered in foil or wrapping paper.
- Make a thick batch of royal icing by whisking together 3 egg whites and 4 cups of powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.
- Spread a thick layer of royal icing on the bottom of one of the side walls and press it onto the base. Hold it in place for a few minutes until the icing starts to set.
- Repeat with the other side wall, attaching it to the base and the first side wall.
- Spread royal icing along the top edges of the two side walls and attach the front and back walls to create a box shape. Hold in place until the icing starts to set.
- Use more royal icing to attach the roof pieces to the top of the house. Hold in place until the icing sets.
- Let the gingerbread house dry and set for at least a few hours, or overnight, before decorating.
It’s important to let the royal icing dry completely before decorating the house. This will help ensure that the decorations stay in place and don’t slide off the house.
Decorating the Gingerbread House
Decorating the gingerbread house is the most fun part of the process! Here are some tips for making your gingerbread house look festive and beautiful:
- Use a variety of candies, such as gumdrops, candy canes, M&Ms, and peppermint candies, to decorate the house. You can also use pretzels, marshmallows, and cereal to add texture and dimension to the house.
- Consider using a piping bag to add royal icing details, such as snowflakes, stars, or icicles.
- Create a pathway leading up to the house using crushed cookies or candy.
- Use powdered sugar to create a snowy effect on the roof or around the house.
- Get creative with your decorations! Add a gingerbread person or animal to the front yard, or make a snowman out of marshmallows.
- Don’t forget to take pictures of your finished gingerbread house to remember your hard work!
Remember, the sky’s the limit when it comes to decorating your gingerbread house. Let your imagination run wild and have fun with it!
Tips for Storing and Displaying Your Gingerbread House
Once you’ve finished decorating your gingerbread house, you’ll want to display it proudly for all to see. Here are some tips for storing and displaying your gingerbread house:
- Keep the gingerbread house in a cool, dry place. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight or near a heat source.
- If you want to keep the gingerbread house for a longer period of time, consider coating it with a layer of clear lacquer or shellac to protect it from moisture and bugs.
- Use a decorative cake stand or platter to display the gingerbread house. You can also add some fake snow or holiday-themed decorations to the display to make it look even more festive.
- If you want to keep the gingerbread house for several days, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container.
- Finally, enjoy your beautiful gingerbread house! It’s a festive and fun addition to any holiday celebration.