Intro: Best Gingerbread House
Many people share the time of making a gingerbread house together. Whether it be a family spending time together or a friendly competition within a workplace or home. Either way, building a gingerbread house from scratch can be difficult yet fulfilling. Follow these steps on how to make a gingerbread house from scratch,
Step 1: Materials
· Gingerbread mix
· Measuring Cup
· Oven Mitt
· Rolling Pin (or in my case a wine bottle)
· Large Telephone Book
· 3 White Pieces of Paper
· Optional: Cookie Cutters
1. In order to build a gingerbread house you must have a pattern to follow. Using 3 blank white pieces of paper draw out these dimensions:
·Front/back of house(x2): roof side=4.5’’, side=5’’, bottom=7’’
·Roof of house(x2): 5.5’’x8.5’’
·Side of house(x2): 5’’x7’’
·Optional: Door: 3.5’’x1.75’’
2.Now that your pattern is neatly cut out you’ll need a gingerbread mix- here are two options that are found in most grocery stores. Costing roughly $2.50
3.Going with the option on the left, “Betty Crocker Gingerbread”, set your oven to 350 degrees
4. In a large bowl mix together the, “Betty Crocker Gingerbread” mix with, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of water, and 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter. Mix together well for at least 2 minutes
5.Now that the mix is thoroughly mixed together, sprinkle flour on a large cookie sheet, with your floury hands, spoon a large portion of dough on the cookie sheet.
Using a rolling pin (or a wine bottle if a rolling pin is not availableJ), roll the dough flat and even on the cookie sheet.
6.Place your first pattern on top of the dough, carefully, with a small knife trace the outline of the pattern with your knife into the dough.
7. After cutting out as many patterns possible for this batch, place the cookie sheet into the oven which is set at 350 degrees and let cook for 9 minutes.
8. After the 9 minutes, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let cookie sit for 2-3 minutes.
9. Place a large telephone book on top of the cookie to insure a flat, even cookie.
10. Repeat steps 6 through 9 until all the patterns have been cooked, it is easiest to cook one piece at a time to insure quality.
11. You should have: 2 sides of house, 2 roof pieces, and 1 front of house and 1 back of house.
12. With any extra dough you may have left feel free to make cut out cookies. I chose to create two Christmas tree’s and the word “JOY” to embellish my house with.
Step 7: Preparing the Royal Icing
Royal icing acts as “cement” to hold all of your gingerbread pieces and decorations in place. It only has three ingredients and isn’t difficult to make yet crucial to the assembly of the gingerbread house.
· 3 egg whites
· 1/8 tsp. cream of tarter
· 1 pound of powdered sugar
1. In a small bowl separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. This can be done by splitting the egg shell in half then transferring the yolk between the two shells until most of the egg white has fallen into the small bowl.
2. Once the egg whites are separated, pour the egg whites into the mixing bowl along with 1/8 tsp. cream of tarter and the 1 pound of powdered sugar.
3. Mix all three ingredients on LOW speed for 2 minutes until well blended
4. Turn up the speed to HIGH, set the timer and let mix for 6 minutes. The royal icing should be able to hold a peak after the 6 minutes
5. Transfer your royal icing from the mixing bowl to a large Zip Lock bag by scraping the bowl with a spatula. If the royal icing is exposed to air for too long it will dry up, and become unusable.
Step 11: Assembling the Gingerbread House
It is important that you assemble the gingerbread house on something sturdy, and in some cases, transferable. It is best to put down a layer of newspapers to protect your workspace. I chose to assemble the gingerbread house on a cookie tray, but decided to use a cardboard foundation for easy clean up and better visual appeal.
· Sturdy base for assembly (cookie tray, cutting board, cardboard)
· Gingerbread pieces
· Royal icing
· Masking tape
· Optional: Candy and colored icing for decoration.
1. With your cookie tray placed on a flat, clean working surface cut out a piece of cardboard to fit your cookie tray. It is best to tape the cardboard to the cookie tray to insure that it will not move when assembling your gingerbread house.
2. On the cookie tray decide how you want your gingerbread house positioned. Then lay down the front of the house, the back of the house, and the two sides where you want them to go.
3. Cut a very small hole in the corner of the royal icing bag. Using the royal icing, pipe an “L” shape for the two adjoining walls. Also, pipe a strip of icing along the inside edge of one wall. Carefully stand the pieces up and hold for several minutes until sturdy.
4. Repeat step 3 until the entire house is standing.
5. It is best to let the four sides dry over night before you attach the roof for maximum dryness of the icing so it can hold.
Step 15: The Next Day
6. Line the roof angles with royal icing then carefully place the roof side on top. It is best to do the two roof sides simultaneously.
7. Hold the roof in place for several minutes insuring that the royal icing is holding. You can then fill in the peak with more royal icing to insure security.
Step 16: Decorating
Now the embellishing beings, this is the fun part. Be creative. Every house should be different to the liking of each designer.
1. Begin with the roof. You should have more than enough royal icing left in your Zip Lock bag
2. I chose to draw on the door with royal icing. However, there is an option within the pattern where you can cut out the gingerbread door in the baking process.
3. For asthetic purposes I added candy canes around the door. Pipe a line of royal icing along the candy cane then hold to the gingerbread house for a few minutes to insure security
4. For windows, I broke the mini candy canes at the hook and placed the “U” shape around the house
5. I added white dots along the two sides of the house to add character. I also added sprinkles along the roof and sides for some color.
6. With extra dough that I had during the baking process, I used cookie cutters and cut out the word “JOY” With the use of decorative frosting I outlined the word and colored it in. With the royal icing you can “cement” the word to the front of the house.
7. Just like with the word “JOY”, I made Christmas trees with the extra dough and decorated them with decorative frosting for the front yard.
8. With the royal icing I drew “snow” in front of the house, both for visual purposes, and so the Christmas trees would have something to stick to. I added candy sprinkles to the top of the “snow”.
9. Gum drops were added to the front of the house to act as “bushes” then I dripped royal icing over them to create a snow effect.
10. With the decorative frosting I also added a “wreath” in front of the house with the two decorative frostings, red and green.
11. Next, you should begin decorating the roof with the royal icing. I decided to go with a criss-cross look
***During the decorative process feel free to add any candy where you feel necessary. I decided to add small chocolate balls to the peak of my house***
12. Using a gum drop I added a “chimney”. Slice the gum drop at an angle and using the royal frosting stick the gum drop to the top of the roof
13. You’re almost done, now just decorate with all the extra candy and royal icing you have. I lined bushes along the back, and decorated the back panel with designs, wreaths and candy. Have fun, make it appealing to you!
14. You now have you’re final product, perfect for the holidays and sharing with family and friends. Be sure to keep in a dry, semi-cool for maximum freshness.