A gingerbread house is a great tradition that you can start with friends and family.
It is a beautiful way to decorate for the holidays. And who doesn't like tea with gingerbread on a snowy day?
These holidays I have had some spare time and the result: Huge castle, fences, trees and snowman, all made from gingerbread with icing, ohh and the windows are edible too.
Making a gingerbread house may seem nearly as exhausting as building a real house. However, it is SO rewarding.
This instructable will guide you how to bake, decorate and assemble this gingerbread house.
It took me 3 wonderful days to finish it hope you'll enjoy!!
Step 1: Creating the Template
Attached here, you have two files. Print them on A4 paper and cut out according to the outlines.
File number one includes:
Five pieces over all, that will be glued together in order to make the front wall of the house.
File number two includes:
Nine pieces over all, that represent all other parts of the house.
Make sure you have templates as described above.
Step 2: Ingredients for the Gingerbread Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup honey (or molasses)
3 Tsp. ginger
3 Tsp. cinnamon
4 Tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter
2 egg, beaten
7 cups flour
Step 3: Mixing the Ingredients
In a saucepan, mix sugar, honey, ginger and cinnamon.
Step 4: Heating the Sugar Mixture
Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Step 5: Adding Soda
Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. (It should foam)
Step 6: Adding Butter
Stir in the butter until completely melted.
Step 7: Adding the Rest of the Ingredients
Whisk the egg in (quickly so it will not harden).
Add flour while still whisking.
Step 8: Kneading the Dough
Place dough on floured surface and knead until it becomes smooth.
Divide in half and wrap with plastic wrap.
Chill for about 15 minutes.
Step 9: Rolling the Dough
Roll half of the dough out using a rolling pin, to a thickness of about 0.5cm (0.25 inch).
Step 10: Cutting Out the Cookies
Use templates to cut the dough into shapes as described above (including cutting out the windows).
Over all you should have 20 pieces as described.
Use leftover dough to create trees, bushes, snowman and anything you wish to place in the garden.
I also recommend making small "L" shaped cookies, in order to help you attach trees, bushes and any other standing decoration, to the board.
Step 12: Baking
Bake at 160 degrees Celsius (325 degrees Fahrenheit) for 10-12 minutes, until golden (keep an eye so it will not burn).
Let cool completely for at least 12 hours.
Step 13: Ingredients for the Hard Candy Windows
3 cups sugar
3 cups water
3/4 Tsp. cream of tartar
2-3 drops yellow gel food coloring
Step 14: Preparing
Arrange all cookies that has windows, on top of parchment paper as described in the picture above.
Step 15: Mixing the Ingredients
Mix water, sugar and cream of tartar in a medium saucepan.
Step 16: Heating
Heat the mixture over a medium heat while stirring until sugar starts to dissolve.
Add 2-3 drops of yellow food coloring. (Do not stir at this point).
Prepare a small ice bath next to where you heat your mixture.
Step 18: Bring to Boil
Bring mixture to boil (be patient). Do not stir!
If you own a candy thermometer, place in the saucepan and allow reaching the hard crack stage (149 degrees Celsius / 300 degrees Fahrenheit).
Step 19: The Cold Water Test
If you do not have a candy thermometer, watch the mixture as it boils.
Take a clean spoon and pick just a little amount of the boiled mixture, place quickly in ice bath.
The mixture should harden and make very noticeable cracking noises when entering the ice bath.
Just so you will not panic these are the stages before hard crack stage:
1. Mixture completely dissolves into ice bath – too cold.
2. Mixture forms into a very soft caramel- too cold.
3. Mixture hardens but you can shape it with your hand- too cold.
4. Mixture cracks a little bit when entering the ice bath but still isn’t completely hard- almost there.
5. Mixture makes a lot of cracking noises when entering the ice bath, and hardens, so when you pick it up you can break it- perfect temperature.
6. Caramel changes color into a darker color- burnt.
Step 20: Pouring Sugar Mixture
Once it reaches the right temperature, remove quickly from heat and use spoon to pour into the windows, let sit for 30 minutes before picking the cookies up.
Step 21: Ingredients for Royal Icing
450g powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup room temperature egg whites
1/2 Tsp. cream of tartar
*** You might need more; it depends on your decorating.
Step 22: Mixing the Ingredients
Mix ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Scrape down sides.
Step 23: Whisking
Whisk using a mixer on high speed, until thick and white, for 7-10 minutes.
The mixture should hold a peak.
Step 24: Preparing the Workspace
Arrange all cookies on your working space so they are ready to be decorated.
Step 25: Preparing Piping Bag
Place a round piping tip in a piping bag and pour some icing into the bag.
Step 26: Preserving the Icing
Cover the icing in the mixing bowl using plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap touches the royal icing so no crust forms. It should be covered well or else the icing will dry.
Step 27: Decorate
Decorate all pieces.
I framed the windows and decorated all over.
Step 28: Color Decorations
You can color little batches with gel food coloring, and add colorful decorations.
I iced all trees and bushes with green icing and added some sprinkles.
Let dry for at least 6 hours.
Step 30: Base Board
Everything is ready to assemble.
We will use a foam board as the base for our gingerbread house.
You can cut it to the wanted shape; I cut it into a rectangle of 90 cm* 50 cm (35 inches*20 inches).
Step 31: Starting to Assemble
Try to figure the best placing for the biggest piece (the front wall) using something (Cans, bottles etc.) to hold it in place.
Use the royal icing using a slightly bigger round tip to "glue" the wall were you placed it.
Pipe the icing to the bottom of the wall and place.
Using the same method "glue" the sidewalls.
"Glue" the rest of the walls (all pieces except the roof pieces and porch).
Let dry for 5-6 hours, use bottles and cans to hold all pieces in place while drying.
Take the cans and bottles out of the house and "glue" the roof pieces.
"Glue" porch and fence, hold it using a cup or a small can.
"Glue" all trees, bushes and snowman around the house.
Step 37: Adding a Snowy Look
Use cotton to pad the entire board so it looks like the garden is snowy.
Step 38: Be Amazed at Your Own Creation
Display it proudly and eat it with your loved ones!