Looking for a new holiday tradition you’re kids will love? Get your pattern and instructions for these DIY gingerbread houses here!
So many of you have been enjoying my Iced Gingerbread Men recipe that I thought you’d love some more gingerbread fun! 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 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 recipe. So if you are looking for the perfect DIY gingerbread house recipe this Christmas look no further!
What do you need to make a gingerbread house?
- The first thing you’ll need it something to construct your house on. You can either purchase some cake boards or you can cut out your own boards from some extra cardboard boxes. This time of year I always have an abundance of those. Choose a box that’s made from a bit thicker cardboard, cut out a square that measures 12 inches by 12 inches. Then cover those squares with tin foil.
- You’ll also need Royal Icing for the “glue” to hold the pieces together. You can find my no fail recipe for Royal Icing here.
- You will also need an assortment of candies to decorate your houses with. Don’t forget to check out the bulk candy bins. You can find some fun candies to use!
How to make a gingerbread house:
- First make your gingerbread house templates. I make mine on card stock paper.
- 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.
- Bake in a preheated (350 degrees) oven for 15-20 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 your royal icing. Get my recipe for No Fail Royal Icing here. Royal icing is really easy to make so there’s no need to be hesitate to make it.
- 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.
My top tips for successfully building a gingerbread house:
- Tip 1: I to use a large spatula to lift the large pieces of dough onto a pan.
- Tip 2: 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.
- Tip 3: Always start building with the back piece of the house. Starting with the front or sides often results in misjudgment of how much space you need for the entire house on the board.
- Tip 4: 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!
- Tip 5: If you leave your candy wrapped your houses will look brighter and keep the candy fresh so you can eat it later.
Are you supposed to eat a gingerbread house?
We usually don’t eat the house itself because it’s really hard. Like rock hard. We do however eat most of the candy off our houses. We leave a lot of the candy we use wrapped so we can eat the candy throughout the holiday season.
How long can a gingerbread house sit out?
Pretty much for as long as you want. There isn’t anything on them that’s going to rot and smell. They’ll go stale, but that’s about it.
Have you tried this recipe? If so leave me a rating and a comment below!
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Looking for a new holiday tradition you’re kids will love? Get your pattern and instructions for how to make kid friendly gingerbread houses here! The sturdy walls and roof pieces make these the perfect gingerbread houses for kids!
- 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
You will need royal icing for the “glue” to build these houses. Get my No Fail Royal Icing recipe here!
- 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 15-20 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 my No Fail Royal Icing. 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!
For visual instructions on how to assemble your house please refer to the post above.
Keywords: gingerbread house, for kids, diy
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