Christmas is a time for family, friends and fun. One tradition that many people have is to build a gingerbread house together as a way of celebrating the holiday season.
However, if you have never built one before this can be an intimidating task so many families opt for store-bought kits.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with one of these popular kits. But they can be very pricey if you have more than one kiddo who wants to create a masterpiece. It also limits your creativity, since everyone has the same pieces, decorative candy and icing selections.
But building a gingerbread house from scratch doesn’t have to be complicated! We’ve broken it down for you, to help ease the process.
How to Build a Gingerbread House from Scratch
Gingerbread Dough Ingredients:
- – ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- – ½ cup butter, softened
- – ¼ cup molasses
Gingerbread House Supplies:
- baking sheet
- rolling pin
- knife for cutting dough into shapes
- candy decorations (i.e.: gum drops or M&Ms)
- you will also need royal icing
Make The Gingerbread Dough:
Mix together all of the ingredients for the gingerbread dough and roll out to anywhere from a quarter inch to an eighth inch in thickness.
Create And Cut Out The Pattern Pieces :
Create a template out of cardboard that is the exact size and shapes you will need for your gingerbread house. You can also look online for gingerbread house templates.
Once you have your templates, cut them out of the gingerbread dough. You can do this by hand with a knife or use cookie cutters to make it go faster!
Bake The Gingerbread Pieces:
After you have cut out your pieces, lay them on a baking sheet and bake in an oven at 350 degrees for six to eight minutes until they turn golden brown around the edges. Make sure not to overbake though as this will make them brittle and hard to put together later! Let cool completely before assembling your house.
Make The Royal Icing
Mix together the egg whites, vanilla extract and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add water one tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency of icing that will hold your gingerbread pieces together.
The royal icing is going to be the ‘glue’ you use to stick your house pieces together. You can use a piping bag or just spread it over the gingerbread pieces with a knife.
Assemble Your Gingerbread House:
Once removed from the oven allow time to cool, about an hour should do if working quickly but longer is better.
Put the royal icing in a piping bag and use it to glue pieces together. Make sure to take care of any gaps and to build your house on a flat surface so that it does not topple over!
After you are finished assembling your house, let it sit overnight to dry.
Decorate Your Gingerbread House:
Once the house is dry, there are many ways to decorate it. First you can use royal icing – this will harden and allow for a more sturdy structure in case kids want to play with certain parts of your creation.
It’s also common at Christmas time (and other holidays) to add candy such as M&Ms, gumdrops or sprinkles; try adding chocolate pieces like Hershey Kisses for an added twist!