Gingerbread Chess Set




Introduction: Gingerbread Chess Set

About: I have an Associates Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology and I am currently working as a manufacturing Engineer. I have many interests which are ever expanding, but one of the things which I love do...

Welcome to my instructable on how to make a gingerbread chess set!

My family and I will often make gingerbread houses during the holidays. But sometimes we get bored of just making houses and will make "other things." These things include castles, bridges, and famous landmarks like the Eiffel tower and Elizabeth's Tower, the famous tower which houses Big Ben. This is a castle I made a few years ago.

This year I decided to make a chess set because I enjoy chess and I wanted to make something cool and unique. The design of my chess set was inspired by these cardboard chess pieces.

I was afraid that if I used a slotted design as used in the cardboard chess pieces linked above, the gingerbread would be prone to cracking and the pieces would be less durable. So instead, I took a slicing approach to make most of the pieces and made layers of gingerbread stacked on top of each other to make the shape of the chess pieces. I made the Rooks just like normal gingerbread castles, and the Knights were made with vertical, instead of horizontal slices.

The chess set is completely edible as both the board and the pieces can be consumed! Also, you can play checkers on the board by making round gingerbread cookies for the checkers!

Be aware that this chess set is quite large, it requires a lot of gingerbread to make and takes up quite a bit of space when finished.

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Step 1: The Dark Gingerbread Recipe

Dark gingerbread recipe

In a mixer, cream together:

  • 12 tablespoons Butter, Margarine, or Vegetable Shortening
  • and
  • 1 1/2 cups Dark Brown Sugar

Beat in

  • 2 Eggs

then add

  • 1 cup Dark Molasses


  • 1 tablespoon water

Mix together thoroughly in another bowl:

  • 6 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 4 teaspoons Ground Ginger
  • 4 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves or Allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

The dough may become too tough to mix with a mixer or a spoon, if this happens you will need to knead it with your hands until the dough is homogeneous.

Once mixed, split the dough in half, form each half into a disc, wrap each disc of dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour before continuing.

Step 2: The Light Gingerbread

For the light colored gingerbread all we did was substitute: White Flour for Whole Wheat Flour, Corn Syrup for molasses, and white sugar for brown sugar. Once baked it is pretty much a gingerbread sugar cookie, and tastes very good!

Light gingerbread recipe

In a mixer, cream together:

  • 12 tablespoons Butter, Margarine, or Vegetable Shortening


  • 1 1/2 cups granulated (white) Sugar

Beat in

  • 2 Eggs

then add

  • 1 cup Corn Syrup


  • 1 tablespoon water

Mix together thoroughly:

  • 6 cups: White Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon: Baking Powder
  • 4 teaspoons: Ground Ginger
  • 2 teaspoons: Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon: Ground Cloves or Allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon: Salt

Then add and mix thoroughly:

  • 12 tablespoons: Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups: Granulated White Sugar
  • 2: Eggs
  • 1 cup: Corn Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon: water

The dough may become too tough to mix with a mixer or a spoon, if this happens you will need to knead it with your hands until the dough is homogeneous.

Once mixed, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before working with it.

I am not quite sure how much dough I used for this project as others were also using the dough for other projects at the same time, but I had to have used at least 2 or 3 double batches of each dark and light dough.

Step 3: Design and Baking

- Print out the piece part templates on card-stock paper with a scale of 1:1 (or another scale if you wish)

I also uploaded a PDF in which I organized the parts for each piece to fit on letter sized paper.

- Cut the parts out with a craft knife.

- Take a large pan and cut out some parchment paper to the proper size for the pan.

- Place the parchment paper on the table and roll the gingerbread out on the parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thick. (a Fondant Rolling pin with 1/4 in guides is extremely recommended)

- Spray some cooking spray on the templates and place them on the dough (make sure they are over the parchment paper) and cut the dough to the shape of each template, then remove the template. Be sure to leave some space in- between parts to allow the dough to spread a little.

When cutting out the shapes from the templates be sure to organize them in such a way that you are able to remember which order they are supposed to be built in. I have included numbers on the templates but they will not be on the gingerbread, so you must remember the order. Or I suppose you could engrave the numbers in the parts before baking.

- Once the parts are cut, remove the excess gingerbread and save it to re-roll with the next batch of dough. Slide the parchment paper onto the pan and bake in the oven at 350 for 9-11 min or until the edges just barely start to turn golden brown. Be very careful. The dark gingerbread will hardly change color at all on the edges when it is done cooking. The lighter gingerbread will just start to barely change color on the edges when it is done.

- Once cooked, remove pan from the oven and let the cookies cool before removing from pan.

- For the bishops and queens, you can make small balls of the gingerbread and flatten one side of it for their crowns.

Step 4: Assemble the Chess Board

Get a piece of wood large enough to fit the chess board on (at least 2X2 feet). Wrap and tape decorative foil around the board.

Make 32 dark squares and 32 light squares from the template.

Use royal icing to glue the squares onto the board in a checkered pattern.

Remember that a chess board is an 8X8 board and must have the white corner square on the right hand side.

This could be an issue if your board is not perfectly square.

Step 5: Assemble the Chess Pieces

Make the chess piece parts and build them. Use royal icing to hold all the parts together.

Build the round pieces (pawns, kings, queens, bishops) layer by layer in the order indicated by the templates. For each piece you may have to build part of it, then let the royal icing dry, then build the rest of the piece. For tall pieces I had to do this 2-3 times. If you don't build in segments, the parts may slide out of place when trying to add more pieces. It helps to build several sets of pieces at once, so you don't get impatient while your bishops, for example, are drying.

For the knights, first build the base, then assemble the body, then glue the body onto the base with royal icing.

To build the Rooks, first build the base, then add the walls (you may need someone to help you with this). Build the roof and let it dry before securing the parapets on top of your castle. Be sure to use plenty of "mortar"!

These are the number of chess pieces you will need to make from each color:

8 - Pawns

2 - Rooks

2 - Knights

2 - Bishops

1 - King

1 - Queen

Step 6: Finished!

Congratulations on completing your Gingerbread Chess Set!

Now go have some fun playing chess (and checkers, if you chose to make those pieces!) with your homemade edible chess set!

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    3 years ago

    how incredibly beautiful. I made a fondant set once for the top of my nephew's birthday cake. He was about 5 and would not let anyone eat the cake. I may have to make him one of these. He is an adult now and we will be allowed to eat it-- I think. I'll make some extra pieces just in case.