Welcome to my “how to make a gingerbread house” tutorial! It’s a lot easier than it looks and it’s a perfect Cristhmas activity to make with kids. They will love chose all the candy decorations and eat them to! And it has such a warming and cozy smell that spreads all around!
How to make a gingerbread house
We will start with organizational tasks and decision-making. Let’s get straight to it and begin by deciding if you want to make a small house, which is my simplest model:
Or if you want to make the bigger house, wich is not that big!
The level of difficulty is very similar in both houses though the larger one offers the challenge of not having angles of 90° between walls. If you want my opinion the bigger one is worth the effort and the smaller one is ideal for children to make.
You can find both house templates by clicking the button:
The next step may seem like a big waste of time but it is essential. Print and cut all template pieces.
Cut every piece on cardboard and assemble the house like if you where doing it with the cookies. The easiest way to make this is with thick cardboard (a remnant of a box) and hot glue, although you can adapt the materials. Do not jump this stepbecause it will help you understand how you gonna assemble the parts and where will be the critical moments in the process.
This step is also important because it will give you an idea of the size of your finish house. And this will help you figure the best decoration and the space you have so you can buy the candies.
After selecting which of the houses you gonna make you have to decide what kind of decor you’re gonna want to do:
All elements are cookie pieces including doors, windows and shutters.
windows are made of “glass”
all elements are made with the piping bag
Choose how you want your gingerbread house to look and I ‘ll explain the best way for you to make it.
Now is the time to make a list of everything you’ll need .
For the cookie dough you’re gonna need flour, brown sugar, dark molasses, eggs, ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves, baking powder and butter.
For decoration you’re going to make royal icing and so you’ll need icing sugar and egg whites or ” meregue powder” if you have or if you can easily find it. For the rest of the decor you’ll need gums, smarties and ant sweets and candies to your taste. The window ‘glass’ is made with yellow candies.
Fot the base you’ll need a cardboard base, in the small house you can use a square base with about 35cm side and for the big house you can use a round base with 36cm diameter. You’re also need sugar paste or fondant to line base and make it bright white .
You’ll also need a work surface to roll out the cookie dough, a roller, a sharp knife and parchment paper.
The piping bag is a great help but if you do not have any or do not want to buy one you can improvise with parchment paper bafs. But if you want my opinion the piping bag is well worth the investment. If you have or want to buy one consider the need of using the tips No. 4 and 8 for the piping work. Use the nº12 to glue the pieces and make the effects of large blocks of snow in the garden and on the roofs ans the nº4 for the rest of the decoration.
Prepare everything and go for the the cookie dough!
There are many gingerbread recipes but I’m gonna give you one that has great results in gingerbread houses. Because it has little fat this dough is stiff and does not soften easily, unlike other butter cookies. It is also quite tasty so you can enjoy the leftovers for baking cookies for you or even to offer as a Christmas gift.
The recipe I use is this:
The cookies dough must always rest in the refrigerator to gain the right consistency in order to be rolled. Some say half, one or even two hours. For me it’s always overnight. Thus my cookies are rolled with the right dough consistency and I don’t have to spoil the dough by adding lots of flour so the dough does not stick.
So after knead the dough make it into a ball and put in a closed freezer bag in the refrigerator. Let it rest overnight.
Before you roll the coockies make sure your workspace is ready. Don’t forget to spread flour on it to prevent you dough to glue. Roll the dough with about 5mm. Don’t make it to thin. Put the templates on the top and with a sharp knife cut the pieces.
Don’t forget how you want your house to look like. If you’re making it with all pieces glued don’t gorget to cut extra pieces for the windows and doors.
If you’re making all the decors in royal icing don’t forget to draw the details on the cookie so you’ll have guidelines.
If you want to make your windows with the glass effect cut of the windows and put crashed candies on each window hole.
Put each piece gently on the baking tray and bake them at 180ºC for about 10 to 15 minutes. Keep your eyes on the cookies.
After baked pass the roll over them to eliminate any irregularity they might have. Let the pieces cool completely.
And now we get to the fun part: decorate the pieces! You’ll be making the decorations in two steps. First you’ll make all the basic decors on the pieces like walls, windows and doors. Then you’ll assemble the house and after you’ll make the decoration of the full house.
But first you have to make the royal icing. It’s very easy and simple:
This is the consistency you’re looking for, shinny and smooth but resistante to the touch.
Put the icing on the piping bag and you’re ready to go. Keep in mind that royal icing dries quickly so put your piping bag in the refrigerator when your not using it.
Now you get to be really creative! Just decorate the house panels as you wish!
And if you need some inspiration just take a look at my photos!
Let all the pieces dry in a safe place. If you’re making the big house now it’s time for you to assemble the chimney pieces together and set to dry.
After all the house pieces are decorated and dry it’s time to start to raise the house. First you need to set up the base for the house. If you have a cardboard base you might want to use fondant to cover it. I choose white so it could be a house on the snow.
To glue the pieces together use the royal icing e a larger piping tip. I used #12. Apply a generous amont of icing on the front and back panel.
Then glue the side panels on the front and back panel. You’re gonna need some cans or jars to help keep the pieces in place while they’re drying. Also you have to apply another generous icing ond the incide of the house so that the junctions are well glued.
And don’t worry to much with the right side for now. You’ll have plenty of time to fix the parts that don’t turn out right!
Let it dry well and then move the house to the base. After you have the house on the right place apply another generous amont of icing to glue the house on the base.
Now it’s time to glue the roof. Once again don’t worry if it doesn’t get perfect. You’re concernt now if for your house to stand! Latter you’ll fix the not so perfect parts.
Let the roof dry and decorate as you wish. While you wait for the roof to dry you can work on the garden!
And this is how you build a gingerbread house, step by step, a little bit every day! It’ almost as cosy as your own house and as magical as this Xmas Season.
You can print this tutorial here:
And make sure to share with me your awsome gingerbread houses!