What do I mean by kid friendly gingerbread houses? Sturdy walls and roof pieces that are made from real gingerbread to be decorated any way you please!
One of my family’s favorite traditions is making gingerbread houses. We use real gingerbread, not graham crackers. They smell fantastic and it is so fun to see my kids creativeness. I was a little hesitant about my pictures for this post because the gingerbread houses shown are actually the ones my kids made a few nights ago. I didn’t make a fancy, pretty looking one just for show. I wanted you to be able to see these for the kid friendly creations they are. I call these kid friendly also because these gingerbread houses are pretty sturdy. I help with the construction of the structure, but then hand the icing over to the kids and turn them loose. This post includes the measurements for the gingerbread pattern or templates that I use as well as the gingerbread and royal icing recipes. So if you are looking for the perfect diy gingerbread house recipe this Christmas look no further! Click on over to my website and check it out!
I also have lots of yummy Christmas treat recipes you won’t want to miss out on! Check out my 3 Simple Christmas Treats or my Almond Brittle! Don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram!
First make your gingerbread house templates. I make mine on cardstock paper. I also cover cake boards or some cardboard with tin foil to build my houses on later.
Prepare dough as instructed in recipe below. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Lay the template on the dough and cut around them with a sharp knife. You will need two of each piece per house. This recipe should make 2 houses. Place each piece on a prepared baking sheet leaving about an inch between pieces. I like to use a large spatula to lift them onto the pan.
If you want a door on the front of your house then cut out a door on one of the front/back pieces. Remove the door cut out and bake it along with the other pieces. Bake in a preheated (350 degrees) oven for 20 minutes. The edges will look a bit overcooked. That’s the way they should be. You want the pieces to be hard and sturdy. Cool the pieces completely before building.
Prepare the royal icing as the recipe says below. Pipe a line of icing where you want the back of your house to be and pipe a line for one side. Place these two pieces in the appropriate spots. Pipe more icing in the corner inside and out. Add the next side and the front in the same way. Let stand 3-5 minutes before putting on the roof.
Pipe icing around the edges that the roof piece will sit on. Place the roof piece and pipe icing in any gaps. Repeat with the second piece. Add the door if you would like Let the house stand for at least 5 minutes before beginning to decorate. I put small amount of royal icing in disposable frosting bags and rubber band the tops shut for my kids. I give them each a bag of icing and turn them loose! Hope you have as much fun with these kid friendly gingerbread houses as we do!Print
Kid Friendly Gingerbread Houses
What do I mean by kid friendly gingerbread houses? Sturdy walls and roof pieces that are made from real gingerbread to be decorated any way you please! Makes 2 gingerbread houses
- 1 Cup Shortening (don’t sub butter)
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Cup Molasses
- 2 Tbs. Vinegar
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Cloves
- 5 Cups Flour
- 1/3 Cup Warm Water
- Create your gingerbread house templates as shown in my post. I use cardstock paper.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening and sugar. Add the molasses, vinegar and vanilla.
- Mix in the baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and cloves.
- Mix in 3 cups of the flour. Add the 1/3 cup of warm water. Add the remaining two cups of flour and mix well.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/4 thick. Lay the templates on the dough and use a sharp knife to cut around them. You will need to two of each for each house. One batch of dough will make 2 houses.
- If you want a door, cut one out of one of front or back pieces.
- Lift each cut out onto a prepared baking sheet with a large spatula. Leave an inch space between pieces.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Yes the edges will look a little overdone. That’s the way you want them, hard and sturdy. Cool completely before constructing.
- When you are ready to build your houses prepare the royal icing in the recipe included below. Don’t be shy about royal icing. It is easy to make and is necessary to keep your house together. Also, I build mine on cake boards or cardboard covered with tin foil.
- Start by making a line of icing for the back of the house and then one for a side. Place the pieces in the appropriate spots and add icing to the corners. I do that on the inside and outside of the corners. Add the other side and then the front piece. Let stand 3-5 minutes before adding the roof pieces.
- Put icing along the edges the roof pieces will sit on. Place the pieces and hold them in place a few seconds. Add icing to any areas that have gaps. Add the final roof piece and the door. Let the house stand for at least 5 minutes. Decorate as desired with whatever you can think of!
Makes 3 Cups of royal icing which is enough to build 2 gingerbread houses.
- 3 Tbs. Meringue Powder
- 4 Cups Powdered Sugar (about 1 lb.)
- 6 Tbs. Water
- First of all, you have probably noticed there are no egg whites in this recipe, but there is some weird stuff called meringue powder. You can buy meringue powder at any kitchen specialty store as well as WalMart (with the cake decorating supplies). The reason I use meringue powder is because with it I will always get the same results when it comes to the end product. Egg whites vary in quality for various reasons therefore making the consistency and quality of the royal icing vary.
- When making royal icing it is preferable to use a stand mixer simply because royal icing is tough stuff and can be hard on a hand mixer. If you are going to use a hand mixer do not make a double batch. You will burn out your hand mixer’s motor.
- Always make sure the bowl and mixer attachments are completely clean. Any grease, even the tiniest bit will ruin royal icing.
- Beat all the ingredients together at a medium speed for 7 to 10 minutes. Icing should form stiff peaks and will have lost it’s sheen.
- It is recommended to use disposable frosting bags when using royal icing. Fill frosting bags and cover any remaining icing in the bowl with a damp towel to prevent hardening.
- One batch makes 3 cups which is enough for 2 gingerbread houses.