This holiday season spend time with your family constructing the perfect gingerbread house. This Christmas favorite can be baked ahead of time and is fun to create!
The wonderful thing about making a gingerbread house is that this can be done in two phases. This way no matter how hectic your schedule, time can be on your side to enjoy this tasty traditional favorite. If constructing a house is overwhelming, this recipe also can be used to bake gingerbread cookies.
- 2 ½ cups flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp allspice
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ginger
- ¼ tsp anice
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ cup shortening
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup molasses
- 1 egg
- After the above ingredients are blended well, add in ¼ cup boiling water. Mixture will become a liquid. Slowly blend in the dry ingredients. Mix well. Place dough in refrigerator about 30 minutes until dough reaches rolling consistency.
- While the dough is in the fridge, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets.
- Roll out dough on a floured surface until ¼ inch thick. Roll out dough large enough so that you can cut out house pieces after it is baked. Bake for 10-14 minutes but check it at the ten minute mark.
- Once cooled, cut out your pieces strategically to minimize excess cooked gingerbread. Let it sit overnight to harden.
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 2 egg whites
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ½ tsp vanilla
- Beat egg white until foamy. Add in cream of tartar and vanilla. Slowly add in the icing sugar. Keep adding sugar (even if it exceeds the 3 cups) until the icing is stiff. Important: if you need to let your icing sit for any length of time without using it, keep the bowl covered with a cold, damp cloth.
Cut out a piece of cardboard and cover it with foil wrap. Your house can be assembled right on the foil or if you bake extra gingerbread, you can bake a gingerbread base.
Cover your base where the house will stand with icing. Assemble the walls. Be sure to “build up” the icing a little at the base to help secure the walls. As you assemble the walls, be sure to put icing on the side edges so that when they meet one another, they will stick together. Let the walls sit for about one hour to harden. More time may be necessary depending on the humidity level in your home. Once the walls are hardened and secure, “glue” the roof on with the icing. To help secure the roof until the icing hardens, (so that it does not slide off), use toothpicks.
Have lots of icing on hand to decorate with your favorite candies!
Making a Gingerbread House Pattern
Using cardboard, cut out the front and back walls (same size for both). This measures 4” (10cm) high by 6” (15cm) long.
The end wall will be tricky. Measure 4”(10cm) long. Measure 4” (10cm) high then angle to the center so that the total height of the end wall at its peak is 7” (18cm). Cut two of these.
The roof, cut two pieces measuring 7”(18cm) by 5”(13cm). The roof pieces will overlap when you place them on the walls.
If you want to, cut out an appropriate size door and windows to “glue” (icing) onto the house.
If you want to create your own gingerbread man, then either you or your children can design a gingerbread stencil can the same recipe can be used and the baking time is the same as above.
If time is not on your side then you can roll out the dough and use a small cookie cutter to make into cookies. (Baking time remains the same) Once cooled, use the same icing recipe and decorate with candies. Because this is a nut-free recipe, you can be the hit at your child’s school by bringing in these cookies for the class Christmas party.
This can be an annual tradition enjoyed by every member in the family. Whether you construct a home or bake cookies, they’re guaranteed to be a hit.