Monday, December 15, 2008

How to Make a Gingerbread House

After reading that many of you have had bad experiences making gingerbread houses from kits this year, I decided to share my recipe and a few templates. I've used this same recipe for quite a few years, and it's never failed. It tastes yummy, too!

Templates: Click on the link, and print.
Gingerbread House Style 1
Gingerbread House Style 2 Part I
Gingerbread House Style 2 Part II

Step 1- Baking!

Gingerbread Dough:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 tsp. ground ginger
4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 tsp. ground black pepper pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
3/4 c. molasses
6 cups all purpose flour

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add salt, spices, eggs, and molasses. Mix well. Add flour, 2 cups at a time, until well blended.

Divide dough into thirds, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Roll dough out on heavily floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut pieces out from templates. If you want to cut out doors or windows, do that now.

For gingerbread house pieces, bake 13-15 minutes. For cookies, bake 8-10 minutes.

Step 2 - Building!

1. Mix royal icing.
2. Set out a plate or board on which you are going to build your house.
3. Use icing to attach sides to the front and back of the house. Support the sides with cans as you go so it doesn't fall over. Attach roof with icing as well. Let dry several hours before decorating.

Step 3- Decorate!

Be creative! Using royal icing, attach various candies, cereals, pretzel sticks, and marshmallows to your house. The sky is the limit! Use your imagination!

Royal Icing: 4 cups powdered sugar 3 T Meringue powder 6 T warm water

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).

NOTE: Keep all utensils completely grease-free for proper icing consistency. This icing must be covered with a damp paper towel or dishcloth to keep it from drying out while you are working on it.

* For stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.

** Meringue Powder is made by Wilton and can be found at cake and candy stores as well as the craft section of Wal*Mart.

I'd love to see pictures of your finished homes, too!


Deb said...

From an inexperienced baker: When do you add the flour?

Tracy said...

Oops! Sorry Deb. I fixed that!

randi---i have to say said...

We start with milk cartons and add graham crackers and tons of candy. Someday I would like to attempt a real one, like yours. Very cute!

the voice of melody said...

That's such a beautiful gingerbread house!

Xon and Katie said...

Thanks, Tracy! We drew Xon's boss's name for their Secret Santa thing. They had to write on a piece of paper what they wanted. She wrote that she wanted something "sturdy, tasty, homemade, and colorful." When I read your Saturday post I knew I had found the answer! :-) I'm glad I checked back today, too, b/c I've been looking at recipes and hadn't found one I dug yet. You saved the day! ;-) I'll try to take a pic when I'm done.

Beck said...

WOW! That's great! I just forwarded the post to my husband, who is the designated gingerbread house builder in our family.

Terri said...

Thank you, Tracy!

Lori said...

Your Gingerbread houses turned out great. I've only attempted them with milk cartons too.

Jodi said...

Tracy ~ We've done gingerbread houses from scratch and from kits. The struggle folks might be having with the kits is that I think they come with regular frosting. We've never had a problem with a kit, but when we use one I've always made my own royal icing (and tossed the kit icing).

Note: For anyone that tries a kit with homemade royal icing ... Toss the kit icing. Never mix it nor regular tub frosting with Tracy's recipe for royal icing; the grease in those frostings will destroy the royal icing.

Great post, Tracy. I'm going to try your method. My recipe calls for the dough to be spread solid on a cookie, cut around the templates, bake, and then recut as necessary. Then comes lifting the pieces from a solid baked sheet of gingerbread without breaking anything. Ugh! Supposedly this keeps the dough from spreading and ruining the template, but it does tend to rob the process of some joy ~ lol. But you cut and then bake, and your houses all look beautiful, so I'm trying it your way!! :o)