There are lots of gingerbread house recipes, but this is my favorite.
I've made it many times and the gingerbread houses have lasted for years!
Note: This recipe makes enough dough for one 11 x 17 jellyroll pan. You will need three of these cakes to make the house with the cutters shown above. If you want to create a base with the gingerbread dough you will need four. The cut pieces become firmer over time so it is possible to make them over several days -- as long as you cut them as soon as they are baked.
|1 T. butter, softened
6 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
6 T baking powder
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cardamon
|1/8 t. salt
3/4 cup honey
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 T. finely grated lemon peel
1 egg yolk
With a pastry brush, lightly coat an 11 x 17 inch jellyroll pan with 1 T. of soft butter. Sprinkle
1/4 cup of flour onto the pan and tip from side to side to coat evenly. Turn pan over to remove
excess. Set pan aside.
Sift 6 cups flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamon, and salt together
into a bowl and set them aside.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
In a heavy 4 to 5 qt. saucepan bring the honey, sugar and butter to a boil over high heat, stirring with a
large spoon until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted. Remove the pan from the heat, mix in
the lemon juice and lemon peel, and cool to room temperature.
HINT: The mixture will cool more quickly if you pour it out of the saucepan and into the large mixing bowl
you will use to mix in the flour mixture.
Beat 2 cups of flour and spice mixture into the cooled sugar mixture. Add the egg and egg yolk and
then beat in the reaming 4 cups of flour and spice mixture. Flour your hands and knead until the
dough is smooth and pliable and still slightly sticky. If it is too moist to handle, beat in more flour
by the tablespoon.
HINT: I doubled the recipe and used my hand mixer to beat in the flour. I used a VERY large
bowl, but it worked fine.
Place the dough in the jellyroll pan and with a lightly floured rolling pin,
press and roll it out as evenly as possible, forcing it into the corners with
your fingers. Bake for 35 minutes or until the cake is firm and top brown.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 4 or 5 minutes, then using the cutters, cut
it into the shapes. You can cut two end pieces from one cake, and a side
and top from the other two. With the leftovers, cut four 1"x 3" rectangular pieces to
make braces for the inside of your house. Be sure to cut the doors and windows out of the sides
and front before the dough cools. If you are cutting the base from gingerbread, use a sharp knife to cut
a square, rectangle or design of your choice from one of the pans. You will have enough cake to cut
small gingerbread characters with your ginger man cookie cutters and trees with tree cutters.. Set the pieces
on wax paper to cool completely. Bake and cut the remaining cakes in the
HINT: The cutters will become hot quickly, use pot holders to press each cutter firmly into the dough. Then, use a large spatula to move the cut pieces to the wax paper.
IDEA: To make stained glass windows in your house, bake the cake as in the directions
above. After cutting the windows out of the selected piece, put the gingerbread piece back
onto the hot jelly roll pan that you have lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle chopped
Lifesaver type candies into the openings. Put the pan into the oven, still set at 325 degrees,
and bake until the candies are melted -- about 7 minutes. Allow the piece to cool, completely
on the paper lined pan.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Choose a sturdy surface to create your gingerbread house on. You can cover it with tin foil
if you prefer. Use a pastry bag filled with royal icing to cement the pieces together (recipe below). HINT: If you plan to have small children helping you decorate the house, it might be best to put
it together before they arrive. This part is time consuming.
Start with one end wall and one side wall.
Pipe icing onto the inside edge of the front
and end of the side piece. Hold the pieces
upright for 3 or 4 minutes, until the icing is set
Ice the opposite end of the side wall and
the bottom of the other end wall, and fit that
wall onto the house. Hold until set.
Use the 1 x 3 rectangular pieces you cut
from scraps to create braces for the inside
corners. Ice one side and one edge of
each brace and place one in each corner.
Let the icing dry for at least ten minutes. I used sturdy water glasses to hold the pieces in place while the icing was setting up.
Don't forget to add the braces to each corner.
All the sides are on and my glasses are holding everything together. This is a good time to
walk away for a half hour or so.
Ice the top edges of the front and back pieces
and the inside edges of your top piece.
Carefully press it onto the house. Patience, this
will take a while to set up. Hold it for a few minutes then set something next to it to hold it while it dries.
The roof pieces should meet, but do not try to
overlap them; simply fill the space between them
with icing to make a roof peak. Hold the roof until
it is steady -- this could take 5 minutes or so.
Finally, ice and join the two chimney parts and
put the chimney in place, holding until it sets.
The house is now ready to decorate. As you can
see, I saved the door piece to decorate
and add later.
|Now it's time to decorate the house. Let your imagination go wild. Use the rest of your icing and make more if you need it to cement pieces of candy to your house. When the house is done, sprinkle the roof and base with sugar.
|ROYAL ICING FOR GINGERBREAD HOUSE
4 egg whites
5 cups confectioners' sugar
Beat the whites with a whisk or electric mixer until they are frothy and slightly thickened. Sift the confectioners' sugar into the whites 1/2 cup at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.
Continue to beat for about 5 minutes or until a stiff icing is formed. Fill a pastry bag fitted with
a large round decorate tip (# 5 or 6) with the royal icing.
If you prefer, you can decorate the sides, front and back of the house before you put the house
together. Make sure you wait for the icing to dry completely before putting the house together.
Click on the image below for decorating inspiration.
Although it appears fragile, your house should last for many Christmases. Cover it well with plastic wrap and store it in a cool dry place between seasons.