Gingerbread is normally associated with Christmas. But why not use it for building a Halloween Haunted House? It is a fun time for the family, you can get kids involved, in fact they are the ones who come up with the most extraordinary ideas. We have already made a few Christmas gingerbread houses, this is our first attempt at a Halloween house.
Step 1: Design
First you need to think about what your house will look like. We drew sketches, then using basic school math skills, prepared the templates.
Step 2: Making the Gingerbread Batter
Ingredients for 1 batch (we used approximately 3 batches):
- 170 g flour
- 100 g honey
- 2 egg yolks
- 60 g butter
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Mix the dry ingredients , add the butter in small cubes, mix it. Add the honey and the egg yolks, assemble the batter and put it in the fridge for about 1 hour.
Step 3: Cutting the Parts of the Building
Roll out the batter, not too thin, keep in mind that some of these elements will have to stand vertical. Place the templates on top of the batter and cut along the sides. Once you're finished with the parts of the building, you can use the dough left for cutting out various forms, like gingerbread men, or fences.
Step 4: Baking and Making Candy Windows
For making candy windows, you'll need candy powdered in a mortar. You can use colored ones, we used transparent candies and added red and turquoise food coloring paste. So, break candies in a mortar as fine as you can.
Place the baking trays with the gingerbread forms into the oven (180C) for about 10-12 minutes. The smaller pieces should be ready by then. Then remove the trays from the oven. and start making the windows. Using a spoon put the powdered candy into the holes for the windows, with a little bit of food coloring and put it back into the oven for a couple of minutes until the sugar melts. Then take the baking tins out of the oven and wait till the gingerbread cools, you can remove them from the tray afterwards.
Step 5: Making the "glues"
We used two type of glues for the project:
1. Mix 200 g icing sugar, 2 tablespoons of egg whites, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. If you prefer, you can add food coloring, Back, for instance, like we did. Then you can fill a small plastic bag with the icing.
2. Bring 200 g of caster sugar and 200 g of water to boil, heat it until 120C.
It's easier to use the icing, but the sugar syrup provides for a firm hold faster. But it's extremely hot, so take care.
Step 6: Decoration - Meringue
Using an electric whisk, beat 2 egg whites on medium speed until the mixture starts thickening,then turn the device on high speed and add 70 g of icing sugar in 3-4 batches, until soft peaks are formed when the whisk is lifted. Then fold in 60 g more icing sugar. Hold the end of a piping bag and turn it inside out like it can be seen on the photo. Using a brush, paint strips of food coloring paste on the piping bag, then fill the piping bag with the meringue and press tiny heaps on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put it into the oven (110C) for about 15-20 minutes, then turn the heat off and let the meringues to slowly cool in the oven (for about an hour more).
Step 7: Decoration
Visit your local store for all sorts of decoration candies that could fit your haunted house. We used gummy bears as drips, chocolate bars for steps, food coloring paste for painting the base ... Anything works.
Let your imagination fly, and start decorating the elements. In fact, there are two ways to carry on. You either start by assembling the building, then do the decoration, or vice versa. I find it easier to decorate the vertical parts in the first place, then do the assembly, then do the decoration of the roofs and the surroundings of the building.
Step 9: Assembly
After having decorated the vertical elements, you have to stick together the walls. For this purpose, you can either use the icing or the sugar syrup. It takes about 10 minutes for the icing to give a firm hold, you can either sit there, holding the walls, or you might as well use a small sized box for support.
Step 10: Working With the Fondant
Buy approximately 150g fondant, roll it on corn starch until it's 2-3 mm thick. then wipe off the excess starch and cut it into roughly 1x2 cm rectangles to make tiles for the roof.
Step 11: Roof Decoration
For the main roof we fixed the tiles using the icing, and we just folded a piece of fondant on one of the towers, while we painted the roof of the other tower red (naturally, using food coloring) and glued (with the icing) pumpkin seeds on top.
Step 12: Finishing Touches
After having built the haunted house, all you have to do is make the decoration for the yard. Kids just love doing this. At least mine. One of them insisted on putting a nest on top of the tower with a gummy bear with wings in it. The grim reaper just arriving home was not my idea either.