How To Make Your Own Gingerbread House

Grandchildren making a gingerbread house with grandparents at home

Grandchildren making a gingerbread house with grandparents at home

The Christmas season is filled with many wonderful customs and traditions for families all over the world. Many revolved around the sweet and savory smells that come from the kitchen. If you want to participate in a Christmas tradition that is as sweet as it is fun to make with your family this holiday, then gather around to make and assemble a home-made gingerbread house.

Gingerbread Recipe

For this gingerbread house, you will be making your own homemade gingerbread. There is something special about creating something from scratch. Yes, you could simply buy a gingerbread kit from any local grocery store, but who knows how long it has sat on the shelf. By making your own gingerbread, you will know that is fresh and delicious to actually eat, rather than just look at during the Christmas holiday. For the gingerbread, you will need:

  • 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoons of ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoons of nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoons of cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoons of salt
  • 7 ounces of vegetable shortening
  • 6 ounces of granulated sugar
  • 2 cups of molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 crushed jolly ranchers to make ‘stained glasses’ windows
To make your homemade gingerbread, you will sift the all-purpose flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together in a bowl. You will set this bowl of dry ingredients to the side. Next, melt the vegetable shortening. The shortening needs to be in liquid form, but not hot. Using a stand mixer, you need to wish the melted shortening, molasses, and sugar altogether. You will then add the egg to mix until the mixture is well blended.
You will need to swap out the whisk attachment with a paddle attachment on the stand mixer, and then add your dry ingredients. Combine until a ball of dough begins to form. Be careful to not over mix. You will roll the dough onto a baking mat and freeze for 20 minutes. When the dough is finished freezing, you will use templates to cut shapes out for the walls and roof of the house. Remove the extra dough around the shapes. You will bake the house shapes in an oven that has been preset to 300º F for about 55 minutes. With 5 minutes remaining, you should pull out the gingerbread and place an assortment of the crushed Jolly Ranchers into the window openings of the house. Put back in the oven and complete baking for 5 minutes. The result should be beautiful ‘stained glass’ windows. The gingerbread itself should be firm. Take the gingerbread out of the oven and allow the pieces to cool off before removing from the baking sheet and assembling.
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Stiff Royal Icing Recipe

When you assemble the pieces of the gingerbread house, you are going to need something strong enough to keep the pieces together. The best thing to use is royal icing. Royal icing can be made from a few simple ingredients. You will need:

  • 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 ounces of egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Along with the gingerbread that you have cut into pieces for a house and the royal icing, you will need an assortment of candy for decorating the house. Candy that is ideal to decorate gingerbread house with includes mini candy canes, peppermints, licorice, gumdrops, etc. You will adhere the candy to the house with royal icing.


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