Friday, December 11, 2009

How to Make a Gingerbread House

I debated whether I should post this on my blog or not because I really can't find anything frugal and thrifty about it. It actually is rather costly if you consider the fact you're not even eating it! The last 2 years my SIL Renee, made a gingerbread house for each family. We would then all buy a couple bags of candy and get together for an evening to decorate them. It was a lot of fun but we decided to skip out this year on doing it together. J remembers making them from last year and has been begging to do it again. I think want he really wants is to eat candy. :) I decided I'd give it a try and it actually turned out half decent. Here's the recipe I followed for the dough. I didn't get any pictures of mixing up the dough. I imagine we all know how to do that.

Just a note: I am by no means a gingerbread house expert. This was my first time making one and I wanted to show you how easy it is to make one.

Gingerbread Dough
1/2 C. shortening
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. dark molasses
1/4 C. water
2 1/2 C. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. ginger
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. allspice
Cream shortening and sugar. Blend in molasses and water, flour, salt, soda and spices. Chill for 2-3 hours. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll dough out 1/4" think directly on a greased and floured cookie sheet. It works best to roll out the dough if your cookie sheet doesn't have sides. If all you have is cookie sheets with sides you could flip it upside down and use the bottom.
Place patterns on the dough and cut out with a knife.
Remove excess dough. Bake for 12 minutes. Repeat the step above until you have all the parts you need for your gingerbread house.
Allow gingerbread to cool and dry for at least 2 hours before constructing your house.
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. creme of tarter
1 lb powdered sugar
Beat egg whites and creme of tarter until stiff peaks appear. Add powdered sugar and whip well.
*I made 3 batches of icing for 1 gingerbread house.
Find a piece of cardboard to construct your gingerbread house on. These get very heavy by the end so you want to make sure you have a sturdy piece. Start by joining 2 walls together. I put a strip of icing on the cardboard and on the corner of the house where the 2 walls met. You may have to hold it in place for a little bit until it sets up.
Just continue adding a wall at a time. Be liberal on the icing. You want it to stick together well!
Here's a picture of the inside of the house. Once I had all 4 walls together I added extra icing to the 4 corners.
Half of the roof on.
The edges are iced ready for the other half of the roof.
Once your entire house is together you NEED TO LET IT DRY!!!! I would recommend letting it dry for 18-24 hours. I didn't let mine dry longer than 1/2 hour because J kept begging to decorate it. I finally thought what can it matter? It can just dry once all the candy's on. Well that was a big mistake! My roof started getting soft with all the icing on it and it wanted to slide off. I finally took half of the roof off and let it lay until the next day. By the next day it was good and dry so I glued it back on with icing.
You can really use any kind of candy you want. I didn't have a big selection of candy because I wasn't in the mood to spend lots of money on candy. I would probably recommend getting together with several other families to decorate your house so you have a bigger variety of candy. I put the candy into containers so it be easier to grab.
J hard at work.
Licking his lips and wondering when he can stuff another piece of candy in his mouth without his mom noticing.
The finished product. It actually turned out halfway decent considering the fact that the roof wanted to slide down when we were halfway through decorating it. If your wondering, J didn't last longer than 10 minutes decorating it. Then all he wanted to do was eat candy. :)

This was actually very simple to make. It appears like it would be hard to do but it's easier than what it appears. This was my first time making one and if I can do it you can do it. Your children will love it! It makes great memories for them!

Here's the dimensions of the pattern I used:
Roof: 9" W x 6" H
Side Walls: 6"W x 5"H
End Walls: 6"W x 5" H - 9" H (it starts to taper to a V at 5" H and then the peak meets at 9" H)

Credit goes to Renee for the recipe and the pattern!


  1. Great job!! I know my kids would LOVE if I would make one. I love the picture of him licking his lips.. too cute!!

  2. Wow Michelle! It looks wonderful! If I had the energy right now I might try it myself! I have made one from a kit already and then threw most of the candy parts away after Christmas because Auralie kept eating and eating!

  3. It turned out great! My best friend growing up used to make these and I helped a time or so. I have good memories of it. They made huge elaborate ones.

    I love the look of concentration on your little guys face. Precious!

  4. The Mansfield Library has a free class for kids where they get to decorate a gingerbread house. The base is a cardboard house, but then the kids "glue" (with icing)graham crackers on the house and then they have a ton of candy they get to use to decorate with. We do this every year and my kids love it. The best thing is that it is FREE!!!!

  5. That's cool that your library does that for the children! And what can be better than free!

  6. i love your house! hannah is so detail oriented and loves doing that kind of thing. i think the candy is a highlight for the kids though. :)

    Last year I got a group of kids together at church and we made the graham cracker houses. All of the kids were under school age and didn't really care if they were 'gingerbread houses' or if they were 'graham cracker huts'. :) i had each family bring one of two kinds of candy so we had a lot of variety. i provided the icing and the graham crackers and we divided up the cost. the kids LOVED it.

    btw, not sure why i can't sign in as heather instead of joe..... :) guess you'll know who 'joe' is.

  7. Heather,
    I did debate about just gluing together cardboard to make it look like a gingerbread house and then decorating that. Jadon wouldn't have know the difference. I think it would have bothered me more than him.